So What If You Work Hard?

Hating those who are successful and blaming them for the lack of success of others, has become a disturbing trend, especially among young people. I think part of the problem is the fact that many have subscribed to the false notion that if you work hard you will succeed. This is a lie that has been repeated so much that most don’t even question it.

This causes many people, who do work hard, to compare their lifestyle and earnings with those who they perceive as working less hard, and who nonetheless get to live lavish lifestyles.

The premise is wrong though. Success, and how much money you make, has nothing to do with how hard you work, nor should it. It is the amount of value that you provide to others that determines how big of a reward you will receive from society. You can work really hard at something that no one needs or cares about, or you can figure out a way to provide something that will improve the lives of millions, without breaking a sweat. Many successful people do work hard, but it’s what they are working on that’s important.

Too much emphasis is put on the work that goes in and not enough on the actual results of that work.  The image below is a great example of this way of thinking.

Minimum Wage Argument

This image has been making the rounds via social media lately. But notice that the image excludes the amount of value that each individual is responsible for providing to others. It also leaves out how replaceable the person is. The CEO is responsible for running an operation that provides valuable services to thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people, while the minimum wage earner, while working hard, is performing a very simple task. Almost anyone can be trained to replace that minimum wage earner, while it is a much tougher task to find someone to take on the responsibilities of that CEO that people love to hate.

When I was a teenager I used to put away carts at a Walmart. I also worked as a dish washer at a restaurant. But as a software engineer I provide much more value because I’m a bigger contributor to the value that my employer provides to thousands of other people. In a capitalist society, if you want more you have to give more. If you’ve been earning minimum wage for five, ten years, it’s because you have not increased your value.

I could have decided to continue washing dishes for the rest of my life, but I chose instead to become a more valuable person, and I plan to become more valuable still. Only then can I expect my life to improve; by helping to improve the lives of others. That’s what capitalism is about.

Government is force. Capitalism is freedom. When you truly provide something of value, there is no force necessary. A voluntary exchange of value takes place: money on one side, and a product or service on the other.

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  • M. Huttinger

    Just wanted to say I came across your site while looking up information on the 17th amendment. I find your site to be a refreshing, conservative, and principled dialog of truth that so often get buried by those who really don’t want to “think” about what things mean.

    My Father-In-Law is a die-hard Teamster union man, and I know he’s got “issues” with my family (my dad was a senior accountant at a local steel company, I’m a successful engineer with an upper-middle class lifestyle). He’s ALWAYS complained about how little the “fat cats” work, and here he is almost dying on the job (not literally, but that’s his explanation) and getting little for it. I tried to explain to him things, much like you do here, but it seems to get lost in the union propaganda of non-union BAD, union GOOD. Little does he want to listen about the actual VALUE provided by said union people. I’ve worked in many places across this country and have seen union employees be LESS useful for the wages paid — and that doesn’t help anything.

    From one fellow conservative Software Engineer to another, thanks and I wish you well!

    • Thanks for your comment, and for stopping by! I try to get people to understand that in a Capitalist society, you get rewarded based on how much value you provide to others, and that is a good thing. Rewarding people based on how hard they work completely removes the incentive for them to help others in society. If you want more you have to give more.

  • 18hz

    Hi Silent Bull,

    I like your message and agree with you on your point on capitalism and the true worth of labor. However, the fact that the young people nowadays are becoming “wealth haters” is definitely disturbing. The next generation trying to push the idea of equality between the 1% and the poor and middle classes exemplifies a modern day example of the push for equal outcome that many of our left- wing politicians try to stress. How do you think we, as Americans who favor capitalism, should stop this progressive agenda? Since you are a libertarian, do you support the idea of eliminating some price controls (minimum wage) to allow the free- market to evaluate goods and services? I would love to hear your opinion on this.