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Having a solid work ethic is one of the most important elements of success, regardless of the endeavor. Having a strong work ethic can lead to higher achievement in sports, your career, or your entrepreneurial pursuits. In fact, the people who have a good work ethic typically have the world at their finger tips.

Of course, some people still have their doubts as to why this is the case. Which is why we are writing this work ethic article; to clearly demonstrate the link between work ethic and success, and to give you the resources to strengthen yours. Our ultimate hope is that you’ll be able to leverage this information to find more success in all your endeavors.

Definition of Work Ethic

Before we get started, it is probably best that we first define what is a work ethic. So, here we go.

The definition of work ethic is the following; work ethic is the principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward. Work ethic is also a set of principles a person uses during training, work, or while pursuing a goal.

These principles guide the quantity and quality of one’s efforts in achieving their goals, and is typically characterized by consistency of effort to reach optimal production while maintaining an optimal quality of output.

In other words, a person who has a strong work ethic believes in the merits of working hard, and thus seeks to do so in all they do. As such, a person with a strong work ethic strives to consistently produce both the highest possible quality and quantity of effort towards their work.

Why You Should Aim to Have a Good Work Ethic

So, why should you strive to have a good work ethic? The answer is simple. Those who embrace the value of a good work ethic, almost always produce more and better results than their counterparts who have a lesser/weaker work ethic.

In addition to this, you should also strive to have a good work ethic because those who do always have the advantage over the person with a weak work ethic. For example, if a boat is sinking, 10 out of 10 times, the individual who most ardently and effectively works to reverse the sinking vessels demise, is the person who gets stay on the boat. It’s economics 101.

Certainly there will always be rare exceptions, especially when one adds a high degree of talent to the equation. However, talent alone rarely outperforms the individual with a strong work ethic in the long run. To be sure, there is much truth to the saying goes, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

The Link Between Work Ethic and Success

strong work ethic and success

This brings us to our next point. There is a direct link between work ethic and success as a strong correlation between the two exists. Is there a scientific link between work ethic and success?

Well, we’ve been studying high achievers for nearly five years now, and here is what we documented, every individual who achieved at a high level had an above average worth ethic. They didn’t all start off with a strong work ethic at first, but eventually, all of them employed a strong work ethic by default once success became their obsession.

In addition, no one in our research ever displayed or made the case for the opposite; a weak work ethic. In fact, we noticed that the stronger the work ethic, the stronger the achievements were, and the faster their success came.

Does having a strong work ethic guarantee success? No, of course not. But, it dramatically improves your chances. That said, here’s what the correlation looks like:

work ethic and success graph

Related: Self-Control and Success

What Does a Good Work Ethic Look Like?

If you’ve ever wondered what a good work ethic looks like, you don’t have to look very far. Simply observe the habits of high performers and those who have achieved a high degree of success. Pay special attention to pro athletes and how they train, study star entertainers and how they perfect their craft, and observe world-class leaders like the CEO’s of some of the worlds’ biggest companies. If you do this, or just pay attention to those getting the results you want, you’ll see what a strong work ethic looks like.

Of course, we won’t make you do all the hard work. Here are a few samples of what a strong work ethic looks like:

Michael Jordan

The NBA legend Michael Jordan would always put in the time to improve his weaknesses. For example, when he didn’t make the cut for Varsity in high school, Jordan committed to proving everyone wrong. As such, he spent all his spare time in the off season improving his game.

The result? He made Varsity the next season. Similarly, when Jordan made it to the pros, he would also spend his summers taking hundreds of jump shots a day, till he perfected his shot. Jordan knew, that if he want to be the best, he would have to put in the work to be better than his competition.

Khabib Nurmagomedov

Undefeated UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov wanted to achieve the title of the best in the world. As such, he would willingly put himself through the most grueling trainings. Training sessions that he intentionally made to be longer and more arduous than his competitors’ training sessions.

As such, his trainings days would consist of him waking up, training, then going to school. And after school, he would train again, then finish his studies for school, and after he would finishing up his homework, he would often train again for a third time, even if it meant training by himself.

Nurmagomedov’s training regimen and work ethic was superior to his peers, and the result was the creation of an undefeated UFC champion.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, and founder of Space X and a bunch of other successful businesses, is well known for having a strong work ethic. One of his most well known bits of advice, that he’s given to countless entrepreneurs is for them to double their efforts and aim to work two-times as hard as their competitors to succeed.

In short, his advice is this, if you want to be successful, you must have a strong work ethic. He’s says it best with the following quote, “Work hard, like, every waking hour.”

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban is not stranger to hard work either. In fact, before he found his massive success, it wasn’t uncommon for him to be working past in the morning to ensure he know the ins-and-outs of the product software he was selling. Even to this day, Mark states that he spends a least three hours reading a day. He does this to gain an advantage, because he knows others won’t and because of the edge it will give him.

On top of this, Cuban has also been known to work for over seven years without a vacation in his start-up days. Now that is a strong work ethic, and sums up his take on work ethic best when he said, “It’s not about the money or connections. It’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone.”

Tim Cook

Tim Cook is the uber-successful CEO of Apple. He’s certainly does not have the talent of Steve Jobs, but he makes up in effort and work-ethic what he lacks in natural talent. In fact, he’s quite famous within his organization for being the first in the office and always the last to leave.

In addition to this, he starts firing off emails to his employees before many of them are even awake at the ridiculously early hour of 4:30 am, and he hold staff meetings on Sundays in order to be prepared for Mondays.

Certainly, Tim Cook is not the only exception; as a CEO work ethic is something to be admired. In fact, we’d venture to say that most CEO’s have an above average work ethic (which is why they get paid the big bucks), and it’s a good reason you should strive to have one too.

Related: 55 Badass Work Ethic Quotes

The Benefits of Having a Strong Work Ethic

Having a strong work ethic is a soft skill that everyone should seek to adopt. The stronger the work ethic, the more dividends it will pay. Indeed, your work ethic should be focused on as it is one of the most critical and determining factors when it comes to how much success you’ll achieve at work, in sports, or at life in general.

By having a strong work ethic, you’ll….

  • Be Able to Produce More Than Others
  • Become More Relied Upon
  • Be More Respected By Your Peers
  • Be More Valued By Management
  • Position Yourself For Increased Pay and Responsibilities
  • Create More Opportunities For Yourself
  • Increase The Odds of Reaching Your Goals

This graph breaks down your success trajectory based off your commitment to improving your work ethic:

Work Ethic and Success

How To Improve Your Work Ethic

The first step to improving your work ethic, is to be convinced that the market, whether its the job market, business market, or the market for professional athletes is competitive and value those with a strong work ethic. The next step, is to decide for yourself that you want to improve your work ethic.

Finally, you’ll want to ensure you focus on improving following traits. By improving the following traits, you’ll be improving your work ethic. Here are the work ethic traits to focus on:

  • Taking Responsibility/Ownership
  • Aiming To Be Dependable
  • Treating Everyone With Respect
  • Being a Person of Your Word
  • Becoming Eager to Take On More Work
  • Being Honest at All Times
  • Completing Work on Time or Ahead of Schedule
  • Embracing The Challenge of Hard Work

Related: Developing a Good Work Ethic

Final Thoughts on Work Ethic and Success

The world we live in, whether we like or not, is rife with competition. The demand for hard work and diligence in people can’t be wished away. So, If you’re seeking to get ahead in life, or if you just want more success in the office, embracing a strong work ethic will do you good.

Looking to become the next Michael Jordan? Work ethic must become your ally. Want to become a millionaire fast, your work ethic will make it so.

So, embrace the world as it is. Then roll up your sleeves, and give your job, your goals, and your dreams everything you’ve got.

Till you reach your aims,


PS – If you enjoyed this article about why work ethic is important to success, chance are you’ll also like this article about about why if you work hard you will succeed, and you may even enjoy these hard work pays off quotes.

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