In recent articles, we’ve spoken about goal setting, confidence, being positive, perseverance, and dedication. This article is related to being dedicated, but goes into further detail in that you’ve got to be willing to work, and furthermore, to work hard to achieve your goals.
We’re very lucky to live in a country that affords us wonderful opportunities in life, but it is also true that nothing is given for free. You have to earn what you receive. This specifically speaks to hard work and dedication, which goes beyond the effort it takes to learn guitar but to all facets of life, including financially and personally. If you want to have a good paying job, you have to work hard to get it. If you want to have a great relationship with those who are closest to you, you have to work at it. If you want your house to be clean and orderly, you have to work at it. If you want your pets to be happy and healthy and live long lives, you have to work at it. Obviously, this list can go on and on.
So what do we need to do to develop a hard work ethic for those that don’t already have it? Hard work comes from the desire to see something done and done well. It also comes from the sense of satisfaction that we receive when we do complete a task. We feel happy and proud of ourselves that the work that we did paid off and we are able to revel in our success. Furthermore, the bigger the task and the harder it is to achieve it, the greater sense of achievement we feel; making us feel even happier.
Developing a good work ethic is something that is learned. As kids, we start to get a glimmer of this when we begin working on our first big projects and reports in school. We learn that if we put in the effort that we will get a good grade and feel good about ourselves at the same time. As early adults, we work our first jobs and learn to do things that we never anticipated doing and when we create or do something and get paid for it, we have a greater sense of accomplishment (and typically we buy something foolish with our money – hey we’re young!). As older adults, we have careers and families to raise and the level of work required reaches an entirely different level. In these cases where the goals are very long term, it is harder to realize the successes that we’ve achieved along the way as we get lost in the day to day activities of hard work. In this instance, we must allow ourselves to take a deep breath and look back just to see how far we’ve come and how hard we’ve worked and then congratulate ourselves on a job well done! For you parents and older folks – have you done this lately?
So how does hard work relate to achieving what we want in life? This is where we must be careful. In order to achieve what we want in life, we must tie our hard work with concrete goals that we set for ourselves. We must then pay close attention that all of the hard work that we do is in direct relationship to these goals. Do you have goals? If not, you need to define them (see our article on Goal Setting). We must be careful that when we set our mind to a task, particularly a hard or long term task, that it is a task that will get us closer to our goals. There is a great quote out there, “Before you climb the ladder of success, make sure it’s leaning against the right building.” So, what we’re saying here is when you work, work smart. Make sure what you’re working on is something that will get you where you want to eventually be.
2 easy exercises to develop a good work ethic or to make your current work ethic more beneficial to you:
1. Developing a work ethic. Think of something that you want to do that doesn’t take too long, but would benefit you. This could be something as simple as cleaning your room or your desk. Set to work at it immediately and don’t stop until it’s done. Once it’s done, revel in your little success and allow yourself to feel good. Do you like that feeling? Now you’re on your way to developing a good work ethic. Keep it up!
2. Making your current work ethic more beneficial to you. As noted earlier in this article, we must tie in Goal Setting with our hard work. If you haven’t already done so, take a few minutes and think about what you really want in life. Once you have an idea of what you want, write it down on paper and then pin it up somewhere where you will always see it. Every time you see that piece of paper, ask yourself “Is what I am doing now getting me closer to where I want to be on that piece of paper?” If the answer is no, stop what you are doing and then set about a task that will get you closer to that goal. Asking yourself this question every time you are about to begin work on something will propel you much farther in life than if you work hard but have no goals. Without goals, we are alike a ship without a way to steer – we have lots of power and energy but we endlessly go round in circles going nowhere fast.
Hard work is a trait that we all have the capability to do. Let’s make sure that we learn how to do it and then do it for something that is worthwhile. Your life will be much better for it!