WORK HARD or WORK SMART: Which is better?

16 replies
I encountered this question when I was in the school of engineering way back 7 years ago.
80% of our class were all scholars of different institutions - private and public.

In that field, everything is trial and error. That's what engineers do - well most of the time. Then one of my professors advised us not to burn all our energies and brain cells in one task, because there will be more to come. He told us to WORK SMARTER rather than WORKING HARD.

Like a fire, that idealism spread all over the freshmen sections. On the hindsight I see the advantage that nobody looks tired, stressed, and nerdy. However, what I saw next got me thinking if they really understood the context of working smart --- because if they really do, how come cheating on exams became rampant, project and thesis making turned into an outsourcing business, and beating deadlines became the new trend of procrastination thus delivering mediocre reports.

If this what turned out to be the definition of the new ideology, WORKING SMART, I'm afraid everybody else would just not dare to climb up the stairs anymore.

In my opinion, all NEW tasks whether difficult or common-sense level, require everyone to WORK HARD at first. Only mastery of this task produces the technique of WORKING SMART afterwards. Come to think of it. How can you be smart in Algebra if you are poor in basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division? How can you build a business empire without working your way up to know first the basics of accounting, management, and negotiation?

Generations of today want everything in a hurry. They forget the value of EXPERIENCE. They forget that before anybody else becomes SMART, he has to start from nothing and that means working hard at first.

I would love to hear your opinion on this! Which would you rather do, work hard or work smart?
#experience #hard #instant #smart #work
  • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
    get a little dirt on your hands
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  • Profile picture of the author Doan Chi Tin
    Of course it's "work hard"

    But the problem is that to WORK SMART we all need to WORK HARD first. lol!
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  • Profile picture of the author tagiscom
    In that field, everything is trial and error. That's what engineers do - well most of the time. Then one of my professors advised us not to burn all our energies and brain cells in one task, because there will be more to come. He told us to WORK SMARTER rather than WORKING HARD.
    Exactly one of your professors, not a rich guy coming in for a talk!

    But having gone through it myself, he is correct, but not 100% so.


    I tend to throw everything l have at each project, and eventhough l need to take a break with a paper and coffee, and cake, every few days, l don't burn out.

    And yeah, flyers, spent years on that, doing one every few days. Then a biggie at Graphicriver said he could do one in a day.

    Most of us thought he was having us on, but now l can do one in less than 2 hours, so, am probably the fat cat over there, given time?

    Like most things online, on face value it seems impossible or very hard to get it to work, otherwise everyone would be doing it.

    But some things online really can make you rich, but the hard work, failure soul searching is needed first.

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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    figure out how to do both ..

    work hard and smart ..

    eventually i will own land that i can grow food on.. ..so i have studied many methods of growing food ..and have many strategies that may require hard work up front ..but over time even a few short years with greatly reduce the day to day maintenance or day to day hard work..or result in more and more production from the land for the same or less work ..

    the Romans built Aqueduct and bridges that lasted thousands of years ..today we like to work hard so everything we build need maintenance every year ..and is built to be replaced in a few decades ..

    frontload the hard work then you can be smart about the way you work after ..

    but feel free to ignore me everyone else does ..if the cops don't tell me i can't work doing what i am doing anymore i might be homeless soonish ..but i have paid attention.. so the cops barley every say anything to me unless i go up and ask..

    the next thing i see the long term trend..is your hard physical work will one day be replaced by robots or AI ..and other automation....i meant 1 day sometime in the next 20 years so 70 percent of current jobs will not be needed.. and and companies will not want to hire human workers anyway ..
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    "I just wanted a good job ,but i could not find a good job, So i do it myself"-Jack Ma

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  • Profile picture of the author shim333
    Work hard to find ways to work smart - I love use automation tools, outsource the work to VA workers, but continue work, continue learn, but the repetitive task - give to VA.
    So all work hard, but focus to find more ways to work smart...
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  • Profile picture of the author Master Blake
    He who works is a helot.
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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    no man you totally need to work dumb and make it look like you are working so hard when you are really slagging off .. so can whine about how hard you work ..

    I have always had jobs that require hard work.. but over time you learn how to organize yourselff so you get a lot more done faster ..

    I work had now .. though have learned many concepts and principles that ..i can implement in the next thing i do .. well especially sense i went from being relatively shy..to talking to hundreds of strangers every day and being in a position to draw lots of attention to myself .

    Work hard gets smarter.. and constantly get more and more results from your hard work..

    the last part of that i am not really able to do currently
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    "I just wanted a good job ,but i could not find a good job, So i do it myself"-Jack Ma

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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Rodburg
    However, what I saw next got me thinking if they really understood the context of working smart --- because if they really do, how come cheating on exams became rampant, project and thesis making turned into an outsourcing business, and beating deadlines became the new trend of procrastination thus delivering mediocre reports.
    I don't think they understood how "work smart" should be done.

    Working smart will always and SHOULD always involve working hard and vice versa. Make WISE decisions and put a lot of effort on your goals... with a dash of humility so as to avoid being hurt when failure comes.
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  • Profile picture of the author dburk
    Hi Neil,

    Working "Hard" and working "Smart" are not mutually exclusive ideas.

    I suggest that you work hard at working smart, while also working smart about working hard.

    Really it boils down to optimization of working habits. There is not much point of working hard if the work you are doing isn't smart work. Likewise, what do you gain by working smart if you do not work hard at working smart? The answer is "not much."

    I think "cheating" is a moral and ethical issue. I certainly wouldn't classify it as "smart". It's generally too risky to be considered smart.

    Procrastination is the antithesis of of working hard and certainly not smart, in my opinion.

    There are many counter-intuitive ideas that do work in engineering, for example one internal mantra that IBM engineers are famous for is the expression "Do it wrong, quickly." The idea behind that philosophy is that the 1st version is almost never perfect, nor the final version of a new prototype. It is merely the starting point. So, rather than procrastinate while trying to formulate the perfect design, just quickly finish the first version so that you can test it to discover what is wrong and needs to be fixed. Then you get busy fixing it.

    The idea is to keep the process moving along as quickly as possible and they work hard at using this smart strategy.

    The root of the troubles you seem to be pointing out, I believe, lie within the motivations of those students that have set a goal of avoiding hard work. That's a poor goal.

    If they were to select a goal of optimizing performance it would involve seeking a perfect balance between working hard and working smart, employing both concepts to reach optimal performance. Choosing a SMART goal is crucial to optimizing performance. It all starts with a SMART goal, and success is measured against that goal.

    Merely avoiding work, is not a smart goal, in my opinion, it might be a fad, but certainly not a trend that improves performance. I would consider it a source of corruption. Improving output by a process that requires less hard work might be a worthwhile goal, but just avoiding work at any cost may lead to some very poor choices, in my opinion.

    Don Burk
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    • Profile picture of the author Neil Jocusol
      Hi Don!

      I love the concept of optimization! That is probably the correct response in the question, "work hard or work smart?" As each one is a paradox to another, extracting the balance between the two is smarter than having a debate on which of these must be followed
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  • Profile picture of the author Richard Linder
    You always have to work hard but the longer you do it the smarter and more efficient you get. IMHO.
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  • Prolly u should work tillya tits hang sweet offaya.

    Yanno, kinda buzz between GOTTADOSTUFF an' dreamola, morechoiceonyasidesum.

    I figure workin' easy is efficient.

    Who designs a car to NOT PERFORM THUSLY?

    Ease. Cruise. Tits.

    HAS THIS BEEN AN EXTRAORDINARILY LONG DAY FOR YOU, O PRINCESS -- AND ARE YOU FEELING ANTSY TO THE POINT THAT YOU SIMPLY DON'T CARE HOW THIS GARBAGE WILL BE PERCEIVED?

    Stoopidest thing is, prolly you want allaya desiro to be super sharp an' allaya delivery to be super efficient.

    Tellya, we want pyramids 2017 -- frickin' easy.

    But we DO NOT.

    Dream back then ('ncient Egypto) was kinda GOTTA BE -- so they fixed the f*cker, along with massive lossa life.

    How streamlined we are in Reality Nouveau to switch out nullifying brawn for informed diligence.

    Jus' thinkin' aloud here.

    *got sumthin' to say, never confess like howya are sat peein' withya tab -- ffs multitaskin' should gotta always feature squeesquee kitties *
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    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff together.

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  • Profile picture of the author fratt55
    hey there
    the correct answer is to" always work smart"
    always find smart way to tackle any situation rather than banging your head up against the wall
    ok
    talk soon
    sam f
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  • Profile picture of the author marketingsol
    if u work hard today, u will definitely get result one day, but if u work in smart way, then may be u will get result may be not, it depends on your luck
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