In the world of athletics, there is a work ethic that has become all but extinct in the business community. Athletes know that to be successful in their sport, they must practice, work, exercise, and drill. They must push themselves beyond their comfort zone; they must study the competition and spend hours perfecting their execution. Athletes know that hard work yields exceptional results.
But in the business world, many have lost the ethic of work. Rather than working hard, too many Americans are “hardly working.” The trend is to look for the easy way. We often hear that we should “work smart.” But, some have become so focused on being “smart” they neglect the other half of the equation: work!
Yes, we can streamline procedures and improve efficiency; yes, we can incorporate technology and modern machinery to boost effectiveness. But, when it comes right down to it, nothing can replace old-fashioned hard work and massive, focused effort. When a professional athlete begins to feel exhausted and strained in practice, he or she doesn’t get discouraged. On the contrary, they know that they are strengthening their muscles, expanding their endurance, and honing their skills so that they can perform at an even higher level the next time they compete. Whether your career is demanding physically, mentally, or emotionally, you too can give it your very best effort. If you do, not only will your current project be accomplished well, but you will be consistently improving and others will notice your work ethic. Pretty soon, you will be on the road to greater success and accomplishment.
I once knew a college student who failed to understand this principle. Wherever he went, he took his books along with him. When he sat down with friends, he spread out his books and homework. If he watched TV, his books were always there. My friend often spoke about the long hours he spent studying and how tired he was. The fact is, he seldom actually studied with any intensity at all. He spent most of his time thinking and worrying about studying, and very little time actually doing it.
Work means disciplining yourself to spend the time, focus your attention, exert all the effort you can, and stick with it. Those who do so will learn to love their work and to crave the satisfaction of a job well done. Don’t just think about it, do it. Give life your best effort, and success will flow unto you in greater abundance. An age-old proverb sums it up in these words, “work will win, when wishy-washy wishing won’t!”