Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wednesday Wisdom - Celebrating Hard Work, Part 2


"If you really desire greatness, you should make up your mind to be a hard worker."
Sunday Adelaja

Who says life doesn't have a sense of humor? Right in the middle of my trying to write two articles about the virtue of hard work, I've been forced to do absolutely nothing for a week. Here's what happened:

Ten days ago, I ruptured some blood vessels in my left eye while lifting and spreading bags of Black Cow in my backyard garden. That required retinal surgery to repair the damage. After that, a week of forced rest.

A colleague suggested my injured eye would be a great excuse for taking it easy for several months. I told him that would be pure torture for me. I'm not built to lie around and do nothing. I see work as a blessing, not a curse. Work opens doors and creates breaks many people never notice. "The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work." Thomas A. Edison

There are two sides of successful work: working harder and working smarter. If you were to ask, "which is more important, to work harder or to work smarter?" I would say the correct answer is "Yes."

No, I'm not being cute. Hard work and smart work go together, hand in glove, for increased productivity. One without the other is like trying to wash one hand by itself, or like hopping around on one leg instead of running on two.  

You can work as hard as an ox, but if you're not smart about it, all your work may be wasted effort. Harder but not smarter is like butting your head against a wall or pounding sand - lots of exertion but no results. Harder but not smarter may just send you off in the wrong direction - lots of movement but no progress.

The inverse can be just as bad. Being smart about your work but not putting in the time and effort to push it forward is self-deceptive silliness-it's not very smart after all and it ultimately gets you nowhere. Working smarter but not harder projects an attitude of smugness and entitlement, and will put off others who might be inclined to join with you.  

So I'm happy to report my eye is recuperating nicely and I'm back in the saddle, trying to work both harder and smarter. I like to go to work every morning, and I love how I feel at night after working hard all day. I agree with George Bernard Shaw when he said: "I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live."

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