Take Nicki Minaj for instance. Not many of us like her and for very valid reasons. But you can hardly listen to any Billboard chart and not hear at least 4 of her songs (including songs she featured in). We all know that songs don't write themselves neither do they sing themselves through your lips. She works really hard at her craft. Always coming out with new songs. And you will agree with me that her music genius has got a solid bedrock of hard work.
When you switch on the TV or read celebrity news and you feel that the people generating the most buzz and money are not working as hard as you or doing really simple things like singing or playing football or running, you are obviously not seeing their years of silent watering. No one makes it big time without having built a deep foundation of hard work. The meanness thing you are allowed to say is that the hard work comes easy to them. That running several hours a day comes easy to Usain Bolt. But you should never say that they got to where they are by luck. Even if they began by luck, they sure didn't continue and be the best by luck. It was by sustained hard work.
The mistake most of us make is confusing working hard with hard work. Hard work is doing a work that is not easy, something very few people will attempt and even fewer people succeed at. Ed Sheeran in his struggling years did 312 gigs in one year with little to show for the huge work. It was almost like one gig per day for an entire year. He thoroughly watered his seed for years, and now that he is getting award nominations and making huge sales you'll feel he is lucky. That he does not work as hard as you or the bus conductor you see daily and he is getting so much success. And you are right, he does not work as hard as a Lagos bus conductor. What he did and still does is hard work, the kind of work many people won't do. A lot of people claim to be talented at singing but only very very few will put off their careers and other goals to sing at events 6 days a week and for a whole year, and without a significant pay. That is hard work. It is defined more by the uncommon sacrifice you make and uncommon path you follow.
All farmers work hard. But only very very few farmers will water a seed for four years without giving up on it. And that's the difference between most of the very successful people we see and us. They pick an uncommon path and put an uncommon sacrificial work into it. And persevere. They don't just work hard, they are hardworking. Working at something as hard as running miles everyday. Writing chapters of novels everyday. Working on a new song every week. Taking their passion and pouring a lot of sacrificial work into it daily. Watering their seed daily without care for immediate result.
Almost everyone in Nigeria works hard. We just have to. We work much more than people in other countries and for less money. We wake before daybreak and sleep at midnight. We have little or no break at work. Some of us even work on Saturdays. The issue is that we are too focused on working hard. We would rather do what everyone else is doing and only aim to do it more intensely. We almost kill ourselves with numerous certification exams. We seldom attempt what no one else is doing. We only pay attention to our passion when it's a popular one, like public speaking. We don't like to put in uncommon sacrifices in pursuit of an uncommon goal. We don't want to water any seed for four years while our friends have gone through 4 harvest seasons. We simply want to be a better edition of everyone else. Not a completely different person. Unfortunately, to become phenomenally successful you have to not simply work hard but work at something uncommon (like running for hours everyday), make uncommon sacrifices (like not having a regular career so as to have time for your uncommon goal) and persevere (don't stop or give up no matter what).