In the land of competition, we all love secrets and being on the inside. Particularly, we all want to be on top and succeed. Are burning the midnight oil, making smart choices, or the success more of an accident or design? Simply put, the recipe for success is mainly fuelled by the ingredients of both hard and smart work. You may have heard a thousand times that “You have to work smart, not hard to be successful in life.” Sometimes, you may also have heard that “Great things never came from comfort zones.” These are one of those glamorous generalities that often feature in our daily life communications. But we are in no capacity to accomplish these commitments. This is evident in our daily life experiences. Sometimes, despite our hard work and smart choices, we fail to attain the desired goals. There has to be something off. Had we not been putting in all that was required? Well, let’s get things clear. How do you define hard work? It is defined as a great deal of effort and endurance to get success in life. If only hard work is the key to success, then why we fail despite burning our mid-night oil? Why few people earn more by working less? Simple. The problem is that our aims are unrealistic. We can work hard, but we cannot become President over the course of nights. Sometimes, our goal is ambitious rather than unrealistic. In such cases, we have less time to achieve a big goal and are likely to fail. We need to balance our goals, by opting realistic choices. Nevertheless, hard work without smart work is just like a bomb without the delivery vehicle: ‘a missile’. What is being smarter? Simply put three things: the right choice, right decision, and the right time. But, the hard fact is that every clever person has worked hard to get the experience, which helps him to make the smart choices. Consider the example of celebrities. They put hours of practice and hard work to make things happen. We think that they enjoy a lavish lifestyle, fan following so easily. No way! A boxer has to practice 8 to 10 hours a day; an actor has to practice hundreds of hours to reach perfection. Professionals, athletes, musicians, entertainers, writers, journalists, artists, everyone has to do a lumber job to achieve a level of perfection, and to remain at the top. Success by chance is a rare thing. It is an abstract phenomenon and usually misattributed. It can help you get good grades at school, but in real life, it’s less relevant Some people have marked the highness of success by playing smart. But, they worked hard, so hard that one cannot even imagine. Just like you cannot separate the waters of two different lakes swarming in the same jug, you cannot separate hard and smart work. We cannot be smart without hard work, and likewise, we cannot achieve everything with hard work, without making smart choices. How important is luck? Success by chance is a rare thing. It is an abstract phenomenon and usually misattributed. It can help you get good grades at school, but in real life, it’s less relevant. If an employer hires you, they have deemed you qualified for it. If you do nothing and believe in your luck, then you’re gone. The bad thing is that we blame our luck for everything we do ourselves. Take the example, if one of us wanted to be a doctor, but is deemed unqualified by the medical board, we will simply blame our luck, but not the part of the time where we lacked the hard work. So, stop worrying and put a pin on making yourself a fool of things that have nothing to do with the real life. It’s worth emphasising that we should work hard by making smart choices and stop blaming our luck for everything we do ourselves. Remember, the combination of the hard and smart work is the key to success. The writer is an International Relations analyst. He can be reached at Syedsadampak@gmail.com Published in Daily Times, March 29th 2018.