All worthwhile achievements are amenable to hard work.

Nothing will bring you to the attention of your superiors faster than your developing a reputation for being a hard worker. People who are in a position to help you advance in your career will always be impressed by your willingness to work harder and longer than anyone else.

In Dr. Thomas Stanley's study of affluent Americans, The Millionaire Next Door, he reports that almost every one of the self-made millionaires he interviewed told him that their success was due more to hard work than to any other factor. In America, you work forty hours per week for survival. If all you work is forty hours, all you earn is enough to survive. You tread water and you basically stay even. But you don't get very far ahead and you never achieve the kind of success that is possible for you.

Every hour you put in over forty, either on your job or on yourself, improving your knowledge and skills, is an investment in your success, in your future. You can tell where you are going to be in three to five years with unerring accuracy by simply looking at the number of hours over forty that you are working each week.

The average workweek for both executives and small-business owners in America is approximately fifty-eight to fifty-nine hours. Many successful men and women work seventy and eighty hours per week during the critical formative states of their careers.

The first corollary of the Law of Applied Effort is
All great success is preceded by a long period of hard, hard work in a single direction toward a clearly defined purpose.

You must continually ask yourself, What am I trying to do? And how am I trying to do it? It is not enough just to work hard or to work long hours. You must be working on high-value task and activities aimed toward the accomplishment of meaningful and important goals.

The second corollary of this law is
The harder you work, the luckier you get.

It seems that your ability to work very, very hard will open up the doors of opportunity for you and will bring to your assistance all manner of people and resources that you could not have imagined would come your way. Your commitment to hard work creates a force field of positive energy around you that attracts positive people and greater opportunities into your life.

The third corollary of the Law of Applied Effort is
To achieve more than the average person, you must work longer and harder than the average person.

This is simply a way of restating the fact that you can get more out of life only if you put more into life. And the more you put in, the more you will get out. The Law of Cause and Effect is absolute. You will invariably reap what you sow, and if you sow more, you will eventually reap more.

How you can apply this law immediately:

1. Resolve today that from now on you are going to work longer and harder than anyone else. How could you organize your life so you could start a little earlier, work a little harder and stay a little later? For example, by starting just one hour before the others, working at lunchtime, and staying one hour later, you can carve out three extra hours of productive time each day.

One hour of focused, uninterrupted work time will give you the equivalent of two to three hours of normal, interrupted working time during the day. Your productivity will double and so will your value. And by coming in a little earlier and staying a little later, you will avoid most of the traffic!

2. Begin today to organize your days and your weeks so that you put in forty-five, fifty, or even sixty hours per week. You will be amazed at how easy it is to create this extra time, and you will very quickly come to the attention of the people who can help you get ahead, without your having to say a word.

More than anything, work all the time you work! Don't waste time in idle chatting with coworkers, personal telephone calls, long coffee breaks, and extended lunch hours. When you work, work! Put your head down and make every minute count. When you come in early or stay late, get right to work, without delay. Work on high-value tasks. Avoid time-wasting conversations. Socialize on your own time. Remember, people are watching.

Excerpted with permission from Brian Tracy's new book "The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success"

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