How To Teach Your Child The Power Of Hard Work
Parent Circle|February 2017

In this part of our ‘Super 10 for Success’ series, find out how you can teach your child the power of hard work.

Akshaya Ganesh

“Being asked to 'work' can be annoying for some. And when the word 'hard' gets attached to ‘work’, annoyance gives way to resentment and anger, especially in those who do not like what they're being asked to do. Mine was a similar case.

While studying in the second standard, I was chosen to take part in a dance competition in my school. Never before had I expressed even a remote interest in dance. I didn’t even have the faintest idea about how to dance, but here I was, chosen to compete against someone who had been training for almost two years. I had only two weeks to prepare. My mother told me,

‘It's just two weeks, work a little harder and, maybe, you'll even win the competition.’ Encouraged by her words, I decided to give it a shot and put my heart and soul into it. I trained for a couple of hours every day and by the end of two weeks, I was pumped up and eager to show my progress. While I was dancing, I realised I loved and enjoyed what I was doing. Although I lost the competition (I stood no chance against a professional), I developed Wa passion for dance.

What hard work taught me – if I persevered enough and thoroughly explored an opportunity, I might come to love what I was doing and  unearth a genuine passion. Even though I lost the competition, the outcome was a success. I found something that I could cherish forever.”

This is the story of Ashwini Raja, a third-year engineering student from SSN College of Engineering, Chennai. This incident changed her approach to life and she became far more receptive to trying new things. She realised that hard work not only leads you to success, but also helps you develop an interest in varied activities.

WHY WORK HARD?

The late Indian President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam once said, “If you want to shine like the sun, first burn like the sun.” His words sum up the importance of hard work. To achieve anything in life, it is important to work hard, for smart work can only take you so far.

Back in November 2016, we at Parent Circle had come up with a special edition titled ‘Behind every successful child, there is a parent’. In that issue, we had interviewed 27 successful personalities from diverse streams and, not surprisingly, almost all of them had rated hard work as the most important ingredient for success.

Richard St. John, author of ‘The 8 Traits Successful People Have in Common: 8 To be Great’, and a success analyst, has often elaborated on the importance of hard work. In his TED-Ed video, ‘Why it pays to work hard’, Richard states that hard work beats smart work and talent when it comes to achieving success. He bases his argument on an extensive exercise he undertook during his career. Interviewing over 500 successful people made him realise that nothing trumps hard work, not even talent. The man, who has also run over fifty marathons in seven continents, believes we tend to overestimate talent and underestimate the value of hard work.

Richard St. John is not far from the truth, as there are many people who merely rely on their talent and don’t put in any effort. He gives the example of the famous basketball player, Michael Jordan, who was talented but didn’t work hard enough, leading to his high school basketball coach dropping him from the team. That was a wake-up call, post which Jordan started working hard on his game. And, the result is there for us to see.

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