Saturday, May 1, 2010

Success Is In The Effort

Call me old-fashioned, but I enjoy a good sweat, getting my hands dirty and digging into a project; whatever that task or chore may be.  And my contentment is not a byproduct of merely completing a job or solving a problem, I also derive great pleasure in the doing, the effort.

What, you may ask, is old-fashioned about that?  Sadly, for many in today’s got-to-have-it-now world, plenty.

In a way, we are victims of our technological successes: email, instant messaging, texting, cell phones that connect us to every form of electronic media and communication…especially the Internet.  While these amazing innovations have made our lives somewhat easier than they used to be, in return they may have also created more problems than they’re worth.

Maybe it’s just me, my generation?  Or better put: my generation’s generation gap.

“Oh, these kids today!”  Every generation has adults offering up that lament, for as many diverse reasons as freckles on the sunburned face of a fair-haired teen.

But I see it all the time, from my perspective as a leader at my workplace, to observing my soon-to-be-college-graduated son.

What do I see?

An aversion to that age-old rite of passage in ones life when the youth of the day must pay their dues, start from the bottom and work for peanuts, with the hope and goal, through arduous effort and some luck, of getting somewhere.  Hopefully a well-paying job, a satisfying career, but mostly the gratifying feeling of accomplishing something that was worth rolling up those sleeves and breaking a sweat for.

Call is sweat equity or the school of hard knocks.  Or how about that good, old-fashioned sensation one derives from enjoying the journey, no matter how long it may be, despite how dire the odds may seem, pursuing a goal that you may or may not attain?

That’s what I mean by old-fashioned.  Because today’s generation looks at me like I suddenly sprouted a third eye in the middle of my face whenever I talk about not just the necessity of effort, but the satisfying feeling said effort brings.



Hold on, I’m getting a text…

Okay, what were you saying?

This:  No success gained without effort, real effort, is worth having.

And this: No successful individual got that way without first failing: more than likely several times!  You can look it up.


And if  you discover someone who somehow appears to have attained greatness unscathed…look again!  Somewhere in that so-called successful person’s past, or future, failure lurks.


Without failure we never learn.
Without failure we do not grow.
Without failure we do not try.
Without failure we do not succeed.

And without effort you will never fail, thus you will never succeed.

All I’m really saying here is:


And working hard at something that occupies your mind (and body) in a positive, creative, interesting, challenging, altruistic, humane, productive, and worthwhile way, is the only way you, or anyone, will every become successful.  Or fulfilled.  Or content.

Or, ultimately, happy.

Work is an integral part of life and without effort you are not alive, not living.

Roll up those sleeves, put your nose to the grindstone, and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.  It will be worth the effort, in more ways that you can imagine.

Until next time…




Susan Blake said...

Hi Mike! Couldn't agree more! It goes in tandem with get off your butt and MAKE things happen, don't sit and wait for them to! As for dirty hands, heck that's why God invented manicurists!

TJ said...

Hi Mike!!
Great message.

Steve Borgman said...

Mike, I liked a post by Chris Brogan, in which he talked about "overnight successes." These people are the ones who have put in the dues, the hard work, and hours of sweat and toil, while others sat and watched TV, put in half hearted effort, etc.

Many sacred texts talk about the simple virtue of diligence and hard work, as compared to sloth. And that's timeless, not just for Gen Y, Gen X, or the Boomers. It's up to us to decide whether we are going to be the wise and diligent hard workers, or the sloth :)

Rod said...

When things are given to us, we don't respect it as much, or we don't honor it in the right way. However, when we acquire objects or achievements, through our own efforts, it is only then that we develop a long lasting appreciation for something. In other words, with effort comes appreciation.

womenhanbags said...

nice blog, full of video

Unknown said...

suzen: thank you for all of your wonderful comments and support as i have been very lax with my updates of late...and i agree, dirty up those fingers and hands and worry about them later...

tj: thanks for dropping by

steve: so true, many so called overnight successes have toiled for decades behind the scenes...and hard work is, indeed, a virtue...

rod: gifts are just that: things unearned and therefore not worthwhile...but cake is always nice...

womenhanbags: video is my bag...



Anonymous said...

Hello Mike, I couldn't agree more! All my life I have done nothing but work hard and sweat. My full-time job is in a factory,( 8 hours a day) and my part-time job is taking care of 7 lawns, including my own. I think I'm healthier because of it and wonder what I would look like if I had an office job sitting down all day. Research shows that people who work hard do seem to live longer. Thanks for the article.
Alan Cinqmars

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irvan said...

what a nice blog

Lisa said...

Oh, how true this rings! Someone close is forever looking for the position at the top, or trying to tell those in position how to do their job. And when that doesn't work he quits and goes to the next job with aspirations of starting at the top or changing others ideas to suit his own.

Never will he learn!

Lance said...

You pose a great point about this "having it now" mode that is very prevalent today. The generation growing up today is very much used to having everything now. And while I too like the accessibility that is available today - it does take something away from "putting in the effort" sometimes... I see that in my own kids - and how we try to teach them the value of effort - and I'm just not sure that they are always getting it, though....

Great thoughts on this.

Unknown said...

betterhealth: societies that sweat each day are the healthiest...

patti: thanks

irvan: glad you enjoyed your visit

lisa: even those who start at the top are destined to feel what life is like at the bottom...

lance: value is a direct result of effort and without either we as a society are in trouble...thanks for the visit...



Happy Mother's Day!

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