Growing up working class, Charlie was taught the importance of hard work. His parents had always told him to look around at all the unhappy people with money and alcohol problems. They said all of that was caused by a lack of work ethic. Charlie was taught never to be like them.
It wasn’t until college that he realized that there were people who worked like dogs but were still unhappy and poor. What he realized was although a lot of folks from his background had been taught to value the first variable of the equation, they weren’t aware of the second, which he had become aware only from his more well-off friends.
If his poor friends were only aware of hard work, the ones from the better backgrounds were obsessed with working smart. They knew about the second variable in the equation, but neglected or frowned upon the first. Thus both groups tended to produce people without the most optimum outcomes.
The first variable was hard work. You needed that. But if you multiplied that first value by zero or a value close to zero, then all that hard work would amount to very little. What was the second value? Strategy.
Why had none of his teachers preached about the importance of working smart? If only Charlie could have combined strategy with his existing work ethic, he’d be superman. But this wasn’t the case. He felt as though he was starting from square one, even though he would be graduating from college soon.