Are You Clever or Hard-Working?


For many years, I used to have a variant of this conversation with many people.

‘What do you do?’ I was asked.

‘I’m a PhD student in law’ or more recently ‘I teach law at university.’

‘You must be very clever,’ was people’s standard response.

‘No, I’m just hard-working,’ I used to say.

And I meant it. It wasn’t false modesty. I was brought up to believe that to achieve things in life, I had to work hard. I didn’t disappoint and worked my socks off. Coming from a poor family and being a girl, I believed I had to work twice as hard to achieve half as much. So, if I wanted something in life, I set a goal and worked my way towards it… like a tank. And I got there. I achieved a lot. But now looking back I wonder whether I made it unnecessarily hard on myself. You see, beliefs can become self-fulfilling. Believing it has to be hard meant that I missed out on shortcuts or offers of help. I struggled when I didn’t have to. I accidentally blocked the flow.

It was as if I prided myself on getting things the hard way.

If you resonate, I’ve got news for you. It’s not better if getting what you want is hard work. It’s just… harder.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not proposing ‘new-agey’ let’s manifest the life of our dreams without lifting a finger. I still think we need to do the work, but let’s shed this false belief about the link between its value and how hard we have to work.

It can be easy. It can be satisfying. It can be joyful.

What about you, dear reader? Have you found a way to make the writing journey easier on you? Please, share.

P.S. Did you know that I offer 1:1 sessions to women writers to release inner blocks and patterns to make their writing journey easier and more enjoyable. Here’s what one of my recent clients said:

I had my session with Gulara to address how hard I was being on myself and the impact it was having on me. I was going round in circles. In the session, I found myself tackling long held issue I had been carrying for years and years. I instantly felt at ease in Gulara’s hands. She was professional and calm and I felt safe. This proved to be very important because we went deep. The power of the simple approach was incredible – I knew instantly from my emotional response when Gulara had identified a component of my experience that was in need of attention. With her careful listening, she did this over and over. We went at a steady pace, that gave me a chance to pause, whilst still remain in the flow state she created. At the end of the session, I felt a huge sense of peace and that the visualisation she had guided me through, letting go of that long-held onto idea, had had a physical effect on me, mentally and physically. It now feels resolved, something I didn’t think was possible. Thank you Gulara. Suzy, England

Would you like to make your writing journey easier on you? I’ve got spaces for three new clients. You can apply here.


38 thoughts on “Are You Clever or Hard-Working?

  1. In my experience, I was so hard on myself I completely blocked my ability to study and to achieve my goals. In combination with being told I wasn’t important, or even smart, I could only fail. Nowadays, I learn to believe in myself and I learned a softer approach to myself as well as in in the way and the investment to achieve my goals. It is not ‘hard working’ (oh dear, I did…), but the believe you have in yourself and in your own power. Thanks for sharing xxx

    Liked by 3 people

  2. How this resonates. Sure I had a v different background to you (no poverty, the wrong sex(!), being British and white etc) but i had an elder brother who was lauded for being ‘the bright one’ and who easily adopted the mantle. Fortunately my parents’ love of learning meant I didn’t lack encouragement to be the best i could be, just the expectation it wouldn’t quite be as good as him. Equally fortunately I had a strong competitive sense, maybe a gene, a somewhat different set of interests and the luck to be younger so I had the time. He hated sport; I made myself like it, be good at it and from the physical I gained confidence in the intellectual. We only ever did one similar subject examined to a high level (A level maths). Ha! No contest! From then on it was always hard work that got me anywhere not raw talent. Even when I was getting plaudits of my own in the law I thought of myself of barely adequate intellectually but out front in terms of effort and application. Funny old world, isn’t it!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ha! I would have never guessed, Geoff. Well, I guessed that you had a strong work ethics (one has to have that when you do law + write books), but I found the reasons as to why fascinating. It’s incredibly how families shape us, sometimes with no ill intent. Thank you so much for sharing so generously. I love getting to know you better through your comments. Hope you are enjoying the sunshine!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Gulara for this post. Somehow in my genes it remains – I have to work – hard. Your post has given me an alternate view. Now, I hope to replace the gene thing with the belief that rather let it flow. Do the work, enjoy it, let it flow – thank you 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for reading and your thoughtful comment, Susan. It’s hard to let go of those patterns sometimes. We can get used to doing things a certain way, and it seems the most natural way to accomplish things. I hope your writing flows and the WIP nears its conclusion with ease and grace. Many thanks.


  4. A person can be so harsh to his/her self…However I still believe, you never should regret the path you took, since during that time, it was the right path.
    Love you,as always, for sharing alternative methods to achieve a goal.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Patty, I appreciate your comment. It’s not so much regret than learning. It served me then, but life is different now and if we leave these patterns unexamined they may run us into the ground. I’m doing so many things these days – ease became a necessity 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Your welcome, as always! Yes, I understand what you mean. It is indeed about forgetting that we don’t have to complicate things, if there is an easier way…Simplify, to ease…I think this is what you mean, and I couldn’t agree more. XxX

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am testing a new recipe for a gluten-free and sugar-free bread, enjoying my ‘mix-machine’ which simplifies the kneading/molding of the dough. A beef course is slowly cooking in the slow-cooker, in about 6 hours ready and I don’t have to do anything.
        Simplify, to ease…it’s doable 🙂
        Don’t work to hard dear Gulara, hope your have time today to enjoy your lovely family. XxX

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for this, I’m definitely one of those people who always says I’m hard working, not naturally intelligent. And I identify with a lot of the stuff you said in this article. I’m always more proud of my achievements if I’ve achieved them under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. And I guess when you’ve had it difficult in life you start to believe that true success is hard to attain. I never noticed that I had this view until now. Hopefully in future I’ll be more open to shortcuts and help from people. Thanks

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so glad this post resonated and opened a new possibility for you. Mindset helps a lot. Achievements are still ours, and it can be more enjoyable. Many thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Great synchronicity – I love it. To me consistency and persistence are the key. We don’t need to push ourselves. Just doing what we do consistently pays off. Thank you very much for reading and commenting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. When I read your title I immediately answered “I am hard working” and I am. I once had a swim coach who told me I did very well for someone with no natural ability. After I got over the “insult” I took it as a badge of honour. I can do ANYTHING if I work hard. And that’s generally the case. But I’d also agree, like you write, that sometimes I probably make things harder than they need to be. I remember a head lifeguard I had once who joked that if he was in charge he’d hire all lazy people – because they always figure out the fastest way to get a job done. Not sure I agree – but I get the point. I think happiness probably lies somewhere in the middle of both those approaches…

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a great attitude, isn’t it, Louise: you know you can do ANYTHING, if you work hard. I can totally relate. I’m building a new business, and as any new undertaking, it’s a bit slow to take off, but I have no doubt in my heart that I’ll make a success of it one day, because I know that when we put work in consistently, it pays off. On the other hand, I’ve got a stronger desire to enjoy life 😀 I can easily get lost in work. So, searching for that middle way where happiness lies. Thank you for joining in the conversation, sharing this post, and commenting so generously.


  7. Great post. I believe in working hard but if you love what you do it often doesn’t feel like hard work. In terms of writing, with 1 or 2 exceptions I’d say writing comes pretty easily to me, I get an idea, I write and generally it pours out of me requiring only a few tweaks here and there. That said, I didn’t begin writing until I was 41, the lessons that I’ve learned that inspire my writing have most certainly been hard-won!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Letting writing to pour out is by far the best way to write (in my opinion). It’s like we ‘channel’ writing, and it comes from a deeper place and speaks to people in a more profound way. Glad writing comes to you easily, and you are right, life lessons can offer a fertile ground. I’m a ‘late-starter’ too and there’s plenty of life lessons to draw on. 🙂 And I couldn’t agree more about your comment about doing what you love, because then it often doesn’t even feel like work.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with your comment about ‘channeling’ writing. I’ve have read about a lot of creative people, especially musicians, that feel they are a vessel through which creativity comes through rather than the source of their creativity. I can really relate to that, I often read back my pieces and wonder where they came from. So much of it seems to flow unconsciously and I think that is a big reason as to why writing is so important to me now; I learn a lot about myself and gain a lot of clarity via the words that come out through me.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Change Your Story, Change Your Life | Dr Gulara Vincent

  9. Love this take on “hard-working”. The thought that we can work hard and have it also be joyful is beautiful. (And true…if you can find your joy.) “It can be easy. It can be satisfying. It can be joyful.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Working hard is an admirable character trait, and people hold it in high esteem. But sometimes, underpinning it, is a childhood without unconditional love and acceptance from a parent, and a child working hard trying to prove to that parent that they are good and loveable. It serves the child well, because they do achieve. However, they can’t stop, because then they feel lazy and worthless.
    I know all of those feelings well—working too hard, being everything to everybody, and berating myself when I couldn’t keep it up. I felt like a train chugging up a mountain—a long, steep mountain, with a distant peak. Now I’ve hopped off that train, I see there was no peak—it was illusory. No matter how hard I worked or what I achieved, I’d have never reached it—for myself or for the parent whose love I was trying to earn.
    I’m on a different train now, and the terrain is much smoother and less steep! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the train analogy, and you are absolutely right, Louise, reaching a peak is an illusion. Your take on childhood wounds is spot on too. Sometimes, we get into certain patterns and it takes courage and willingness to stop and reassess them. It may seem easier to keep going on an auto-pilot, but life has its ways of stopping us in our tracks and getting our attention. Yes, that’s train journey is not sustainable. I’m on a different platform now. Waiting for my new train to arrive 😀 Thank you so much for reading and your insightful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. “You see, beliefs can become self-fulfilling. Believing it has to be hard meant that I missed out on shortcuts or offers of help. I struggled when I didn’t have to. I accidentally blocked the flow.” – I am really struck by these lines, Gulara. I have never been very hard working (which does not mean I’m talented :D) but I had never thought of it this way before! I’ve berated myself for giving up things if they seemed too hard, but now I wonder if that may have been the right thing to do. Also, when I put your words in the context of relationships, they seem even truer. Contrary to popular perception, I don’t think a marriage or any relationship should require a lot of hard work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think relationships and marriage becomes hard work when we cannot be fully ourselves or don’t allow other people to be who they are. It takes huge amount of energy to control, manipulate and try to change others. If we accept what is, it’s totally unnessary. Then we are in the moment. We are not playing out old stories we absorbed as chilren. We are not carrying a huge baggage of the past. It can be effortless, but it requires willingness to take every moment as a fresh start. Thank you for reading and sharing, Durba. So lovely to connect.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s