Millennials need to work hard, then work smart

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam recently mentioned that the old values of perseverance and hard work still matter today, and how younger Singaporeans have "less hunger" than their predecessors ("Tharman to bosses: Culture of perseverance, hard work key"; June 18).

Singapore swimmer Tao Li has likewise mentioned that younger athletes "are not hungry enough to want to win".

In today's dynamic economy, we will need to combine traditional values with the capabilities of young minds, as Singapore needs innovation to propel itself further into a future more complex than the present.

Our education system is giving more emphasis to critical thinking and soft skills.

However, many have overlooked the importance of traditional values such as hard work and perseverance.

Foundation work is critical in any role and usually involves spending long hours trying to understand things and learn the tools of the trade.

This requires perseverance, determination and grit.

But when the foundation is strong, the road ahead will be less arduous and more productive.

Younger Singaporeans need to drop the idea of instant gratification, and start to appreciate the concept of delayed gratification.

This should be the way forward - work hard, then work smart.

Nathaniel Han Haoguang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2016, with the headline 'Millennials need to work hard, then work smart'. Print Edition | Subscribe