Is hard work enough? Maybe not…

Is hard work enough to get through? Some of you who know me would know that before spending the last half of my life in Australia, I spent the first half in Mauritius, where I was born. Partly due to its history of colonialism, Mauritius is not exactly a rich country, financially speaking. 

Needless to say, I grew up in what would be called a poor household and my parents struggled to make ends meet. My father, who was pulled out of school when he was 12 years old, had to work in the tea plantation to look after the family. This shaped his perception of life. He was told that if he worked hard in life, he would eventually be successful and live an abundant life. That stuck in his mind until the day he died.

He passed away at 49 years old and sadly with debts. 

Why am I telling you this? My father was working full time during weekdays and would wake up at 3am on weekends to work on his side-project, which was growing vegetables and selling them at the local market on the weekend. He had the right idea to work for himself, a huge drive and when he set his mind to it, he was like a race-horse wearing blinders. Maybe the execution was not optimised. He kept blaming his parents and lack of “education” for this. To me he was well-educated with a lot of life-experiences, it just was not in the academic field.

He burnt out several times, got frustrated and this transpired through his behaviours at home. 

When I think back over it, should he have done things differently, maybe his life would have steered in a different direction. 

Sometimes we learn from our parents’ mistakes, try not to repeat them and hope to create a better life for us & our children. I believe if my father followed the below steps, things would have been different:  

  1. Take a step back, assess his efforts vs results, and use past and current data to see in which direction he was heading. 
  2. Do a SWOT analysis and work on what need to be improved 
  3. Research regularly and keep learning. He knew how to read and write, therefore he possessed the tools to up-skill himself and gain more knowledge. 
  4. Network with others. 
  5. Have more faith in himself.
  6. Work on having a growth mindset as opposed having a fixed mindset. 

Let me expand on the above points. 

1. Take a step back, assess efforts vs results, and use past and current data to help adjust our course. 

Taking breaks have more benefits than you think. Just because we are sitting down and not doing anything physical does not mean that we are procrastinating or slacking off. When we take breaks, we are taking as a step back, giving our mind and body a rest.

This allows us to:

  • Take- our minds off things
  • Readjust our focus
  • Make sound assessments use the information at hand to make future predictions
  • Run sample tests to see which ones would work. 

2. Do a SWOT analysis and work on what need to be improved.

Doing a SWOT analysis to work out our strengths and weakness will allow us to know what need to be improved and train ourselves to overcome these weaknesses. For example, my father was an introvert, which is of course not a weakness. It is a just a different personality type that made it hard for him to easily approach others and connect with them. Should he have acknowledged that he was an introvert, this may have lead him to find other ways to network, such as making phone calls as opposed to networking in person, which would have been more daunting for him.

Thankfully nowadays we have professional networking platforms, such as LinkedIn and Für Alle, that allow us to connect and network with others. 

3. Research regularly and keep learning.

Research is a very crucial part of our lives and it comes in various ways. You do not have to be buried in books or stuck to your mobile phone to be researching. The word research is defined as a careful study of a given subject, field, or problem, undertaken to discover facts or principles. This can done by observing, listening to others’ experiences, jumping in the deep end and learning from your own experiences, getting a mentor. These are just some examples.

4. Network with others.

Building a network is essential because going it alone has its proven limitations. The benefits of networking are as below: 

  • Allow you to share your experiences and knowledge 
  • Gain insights & learn how to deal with certain limitations
  • Allow people to connect with like-minded individuals 
  • Make you realise that you are not alone grinding away
  • Build your confidence by engaging with others
  • Help you scale your business/es
  • Gives exposure to your business 

Networking can be used for other purposes as well, such as getting a job. You can read more about this here:

5. Have more faith in your abilities.

The way life works is it sometimes puts us in situations that requires us to grow emotionally, spiritually and mentally as well. 

When we are confronted with challenging situations, we may experience doubts, resistance from others, rejections, confidence issues and more. This does not mean that we have to stop there. Challenges are there to help us grow and move to the next stage.

For example, when a toddler starts walking for the first time, he or she may fall several times before realising that he/she can hold onto the edge of the couch and use it as leverage to practice walking. Then after several months of falling down and getting up, the toddler finally is able to proudly walk from destination A to destination B. 

Adults deal with failures very differently. Kids fall down, cry a little, get up and keep going. Adults may have a lot more at stake if they fail, in some cases, assets etc. Having said, there are ways to plan that does not involve heavy losses. In a lot of cases tho, adults are more scared of others’ judgements rather than focusing on picking themselves up to keep moving. 

6. Have a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset.

The mindset plays a critical role in how we deal with challenges. Having a fixed mindset may work for situations that are constant, but realistic speaking, nothing is permanent and we are nowadays living in a constant flux where the only constant is change. In order to adapt to that constant state of flux, we need to adopt a growth mindset where we acknowledge that our qualities, skills and intelligence are not carved in stone. We can improve on those skills, improve on these qualities and gain more knowledge to take down those obstacles and challenges.

This what I have learned from observing my old man. I have been implementing those self-learnt lessons as I go and despite the road may be long and windy, it makes it more fun to tackle. Maybe in 20 years’ time, my son will write an article on how differently I should have done things. I hope he does.

Author: Dave Seejugut 

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