There’s no guarantee that the things you put work into, will work out. 

I wish there was such a guarantee. 

It’d be amazing if hard work was the only factor that went into whether a project was successful or not. 

Unfortunately, however, we all know the truth: hard work does not guarantee a successful outcome. 

There’s luck. There’s timing. There are the actions and intentions of other people. And there are dozens of other variables— some known, some unknown— that come into play. 

No. Hard work is not sufficient to ensure a successful outcome. 

It sure tends to be necessary, however. 

The trick for many of us is not to fall into the trap of thinking that just because hard work doesn’t guarantee an outcome, that we can somehow get away with NOT working hard. 

While it’s true that hard work will not guarantee an outcome, it’s also very true that the projects that we do put hard work into, tend to be more successful than those projects that we let cruise along on autopilot. 

It’s not enough that our work be hard, or effortful. 

Our work needs to be smart. 

We need to apply our resources intelligently. 

We need to pay attention to the data generated by our efforts, and be willing to adjust our approach in response to that data. 

Above all: we need to avoid going on autopilot. 

We need to avoid getting complacent. 

We need to avoid buying into assumptions about what does work and what doesn’t work— and, instead, be constantly experimenting, trying things out, adjusting our strategy and tactics. 

We need to stay sharp, in other words. 

That’s sometimes easier than it sounds. 

It’s tough to stay sharp when we’re tired. 

It’s tough to stay sharp when we’re frustrated. 

It’s tough to stay sharp when we’ve had setbacks. 

It’s tough to stay sharp when our hard work in the past hasn’t panned out, for whatever reason. 

The thing about recovery and personal development is, no one’s asking you to be superhuman. 

Nobody’s expecting you to do things that are beyond the scope of your abilities. 

Nobody’s expecting you to leap tall buildings in a single bound. 

This whole project is not about “becoming superhuman,” despite what some personal growth gurus claim. (I regularly see posts from at least one who claims his techniques will help you achieve “superhuman performance”— as if that’s actually a thing.) 

This whole project is about figuring out ways to stay sharp in the real world. 

It’s about organizing and using the skills and tools you have— not the skills and tools you wish you had. 

It’s about figuring out what works for you in sustainable, realistic, ways. 

You can do it. 

People do it all the time. 

If, that is, you work hard, work smart, and stay sharp. 


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