Want to Be Successful? Do Something Hard

There is a reason why some people are more successful than others. Actually, there are many reasons, but I’m convinced that one of them is this: people don’t want to do hard things, as a general rule, so the few that are willing/able/unafraid to endure a bit of hardship are the ones who are going to come out looking like they accomplished something. Respect, money and even fame are most likely going to follow to some degree.

Take Bear Grylls for example. You don’t want to eat nasty insects and drink your own urine for the enjoyment of millions of viewers. You probably wouldn’t even want to go through the special forces training he had to endure before he ever made it on TV. But he did it and look what it got him.

Do you see what I mean? You’ve got to be willing to do something other people aren’t in order to get ahead. This could take many forms. The classic example is being an entrepreneur and trading in the safety of a steady job for the uncertainty of fledging a new company that may or may not make it in the end. It may look like taking more initiative with your boss or learning how to speak up. It could look like starting a blog that nobody reads for 6 months but being sticking with it till it finds an audience. Patience, persistence, the ability to envision the future, optimism and a higher pain tolerance are all hallmarks of successful people.

Many people have given up on doing something respectable to gain attention and they do something terrible that nobody else is willing to do (like give up their dignity by dressing skimpy to sell music). Some people aren’t willing to trample others underfoot to climb to the top. Either way, doing something that hurts you or someone else is not the way to go.

If you are tired of the same old routine in your life or if you have big dreams you want to accomplish, you can’t be afraid to give up a bit of comfort for the short term in order to gain something better for yourself in the long term. It’s not for everybody… that’s why some people are more successful than others.

What do you think?

Hey, I'm Chris—founder and Editor of DailyTekk.com. You can also catch me contributing on ReadWrite. I enjoy checking out the latest and greatest consumer tech. I write about tech that's more ID than IT.


  • October 2, 2012

    Adi Mishra

    Couldn’t agree more. Doing something hard and worthwhile raises one’s game to a level, and it fuels a higher level of caring, productivity, and staying power. Success follows but doing it is rewarding in itself.

    • October 2, 2012

      Chris McConnell

      A higher level of caring… interesting. You’re right. Also, it’s a chance to learn A LOT that you, and others who wouldn’t attempt what you attempt, would never have known.

  • October 2, 2012

    App Mockup Tools

    Could not have come at a better time. Persistence and pain tolerance can get you farther than talent.

  • October 3, 2012

    Filipe Castilho

    I guess this is why they say “No pain no game”

  • October 3, 2012

    Haniff Din

    I’m doing something incredibly hard. 99% of people just don’t get it or understand it. But I’m happier by making an effort and following my dreams.

    I’m reading a book now just what you describe in your article.

    Seth Godin – The Dip.. Success is really sticking at it, and knowing it can take up to 2 years to see it working.

    • October 3, 2012

      Chris McConnell

      Oh cool, I’ll check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • October 4, 2012

    Cendrine Marrouat

    Dear Chris:

    Great article!

    I always say that what separates wanna-be entrepreneurs and those who actually succeed is the willingness of the latter to tread on unsafe grounds.

    The day you accept to get out of your comfort zone is when you actually start winning. :-)

  • November 8, 2012


    i was thinking of how much i have hit the bottom of failure .. and asking myself how i reached this level ??!! .. and I have _such_ those great dreams .. and the higher my dreams the lower my fewer my steps are .. and to tell u ..uyou article just slapped me on the face ,, it was awakening for me .. its a truth i always know but as well always denying .. thanks a lot for this awakening :)

  • [...] never go back and relive your twenties and make them any more productive. All the more reason to take a stab at something hard–it will pay off and the sooner the better. Taking the obvious a bit further, you can never [...]

  • [...] this post is a remix of an article I wrote last year. Bear Grylls image via [...]