Which is Better: Being a Hard Worker or Being Smart? -It’s Not Complicated


AT&T has put out some funny commercials, ending with the line, “It’s not complicated.” The “Which is better?”  question comes up each time I am the Master of Ceremonies for a patient who is graduating from Vision Therapy.

ATT_GuyIn his book “Boys Adrift”, Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D. reviews how much more important it is to be identified as a “Hard Worker” than identified as “Being Smart.”  Although being smart is great (and working smart is even better), we all know smart people who don’t do anything with it. We also know many people are simply hard working, and accomplish great things with their lives.

When an individual graduates from Vision Therapy, I give them their certificate of completion,

and let them know that the seal represents how smart they are, and the ribbons represent how hard they work; and when things get tough, they can look at that certificate and know, because they are smart and a hard worker, they will be able to get through it.

Vision Therapy is an art and a science; we know that the science works – the “art part” requires a little finesse, a little encouragement and often a little seal and a set of ribbons.

Carl G. Hillier, OD FCOVD

5 thoughts on “Which is Better: Being a Hard Worker or Being Smart? -It’s Not Complicated

  1. Thank you Dr. Hillier, I agree totally with the benefits of being a hard worker. It’s great that you recognize your patients graduation from VT in such a manner – it really is an accomplishment!

  2. Great post Dr. Hillier. Art Linkletter would be proud! Kids do say the darndest things!

    What a great way to show that a child’s perception of themselves is best when it is internally driven based on a positive self determination. Perceiving one’s self hard worker is intrinsically much more desirable than an the external “blanket statement” that you are smart which leads to a sense of frustration and disappointment with the child who struggles with a complications of a vision related learning problem. A “hard worker” is one who will take on an attitude of “I’ll try” overcome adversity. The child who is told that they are “smart” yet has to overcome adversity may feel that there is nothing more they can do and therefore think “I can’t”.

  3. Everyone needs a little encouragement. Great job, Dr Hillier, and thank you for reminding me to do this
    more often with my patients. It reminds me of something I learned years ago, which I actually
    said to a patient yesterday, who is about to begin Vision Therapy in our office, “I’m not telling
    you it is going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

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