Can You Achieve Anything?

I recently saw a post on Instagram from another writer. She posted a picture saying:

“People say ‘work hard and you can have whatever you want’ and also ‘some things are just not written in your destiny’ but both can’t be true and I don’t know which one to believe anymore…”

It got me thinking. We’ve all heard both of these sayings, and are equally guilty of regurgitating them from time to time, never really giving them more thought than it took to utter the words. But the writer who posted the photo obviously gave them far more than that, and so, it’s led to me over-thinking it, like so many other things.

Which one is true? Which one to believe in? I don’t think either is true, nor should one put their belief in them. “Work hard and you can have whatever you want.” It’s a nice idea, a poetic statement, something that gets plastered across a photo of a sunrise, or a lush valley with a perfect waterfall that you’ll never get to visit. But it’s not true, it can’t be.

I hear stories every day, from all walks of life, but being who I am, I hear it more from creative types, so they are the examples for me. Musicians who spend countless hours learning instruments, how to sing, how to compose, practicing their craft day after day. Who write music, lay down tracks at their own expense, upload videos daily to Youtube, attempt to garner followers on social media, who week after week will stand on street corners busking to try get their sound heard, rain or shine. After all that hard work, after working as hard as they possibly can, have they achieved their dream? No. Did they work less than someone who has a best selling record? No.

This story is true for so many other professions, visual artists, writers, directors, etc. I hear it all the time, and I see how hard they work, but it doesn’t matter because working hard doesn’t mean you can achieve anything. Don’t get me wrong on this topic though, while I know working hard doesn’t mean you can achieve anything, it doesn’t mean that you can reach your goals without working hard. Hard work is the only way to achieve your goals.

I’m writing this because I don’t want people to fall into the thinking that so many of us have in the past. Nothing is guaranteed in life, and getting what you want just because you worked hard is just one of those things. I will always encourage people to follow their dreams, to set themselves goals and work hard, push it to their limits, but now I will never tell them that if they do that, they will definitely reach that goal. I think to do so would be disingenuous at best.

So, to sum up for anyone who thought TLDR. Always follow your dreams, set yourself goals and work your ass off to achieve them. But NEVER believe that just because you work hard, that you are somehow entitled to achieve them.

I realise I’ve neglected the other part of the original post about something not being in the cards, or destiny etc. But I don’t think anyone really believes in that anymore, do they? I mean, who wants to believe that they’re not in control of their own life?