Opportunity is most often missed since it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work. – Anonymous
Also stated as : Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. – Thomas Edison
What does that mean?
Most people expect opportunity to knock on their door from time to time. But what do you expect to see when one opens the door? Many expect to see opportunity dressed in a suit, holding a bouquet of balloons and a very large check.
Unfortunately, that’s not what opportunity is, at least for 99.9% of us. Opportunity is just that, an opening, a chance to apply yourself and make something happen. Opportunity, when it knocks on your door, is usually a chance to work your butt off for a significant amount of time with the hope for a great reward at the end (if everything goes well).
Why is hard work important?
Here, when I say hard work, I mean work of a non-trivial level of effort over a non-trivial period of time. Hard work is the opposite of feather dusting the coffee table. And I don’t just mean physical work. Planning, organizing, putting something together, that can be hard work for the brain.
But why is hard work so important? Among other things, hard work builds character. It develops long term habits of actually doing something, day in, day out, whether you want to or not. It is effort, it is courage, it is conscience, it is growth, it is persistence and it is perseverance.
When repeated, it becomes dependability, it becomes follow through, it becomes dignity, it becomes habit, it becomes momentum, it becomes understanding, and it becomes self respect.
Eventually, when repeated throughout a lifetime, it yields accomplishment, it yields exceptionalism, it yields leadership, and it yields knowledge.
All these attributes are valuable to me, and so, by extension, is hard work. Hopefully you found enough of the attributes listed above to be of interest to motivate you to continue to do hard work.
Where can I apply this in my life?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there many times in my life. Do I really want to go to work today? Do I really want to do the blog today? Do I really want to do yard work this weekend? Do I really want to take the trash all the way out to the curb?
Note that none of the things listed above (with the exception of going to work) fit my definition of hard work due to lack of any significant duration. However, all of them get back to the character issue of actually doing something when it is supposed to be done, even if no one would notice. Some would say you need to do it, especially if no one would notice.
I guess the biggest reason I’ve kept with the concept of doing hard work was from my days playing team sports, football in particular. Nobody liked running wind sprints, but you never knew on game day when you’d need that burst of speed. On defense, you might need it to make a game saving tackle. On offense, you might need it to get down-field to throw the block that springs the running back for the game winning touchdown. The point was you worked hard so it was never YOU who let the team down.
This is also something that is part of Boy Scouts. Making Eagle isn’t easy, but it isn’t terribly hard either. It does take consistent, thorough action over a long period of time. Long enough to make some lifelong habits, including the willingness to do hard work. For example, in the 112th Congress, 29 members are Eagle Scouts, including 11 of the 100 members of the Senate.
I use conscious competence for remembering to do hard work. If you don’t want to do it, don’t waste energy making an excuse, just do it and get it over with. Every time. No exceptions. Set a schedule and stick to it. Make allowances for stopping short of completion if it’s 3 in the morning. Don’t make allowances for stopping at 3 in the afternoon just because the game is on. A valid exception would be if you scheduled your day so that you could watch the game. Just be sure everything that was supposed to be done gets completed before you sit down to watch the game & get up when it’s done and continue getting things done.
Hard work isn’t as hard as most people seem to think it is. It’s just that not doing hard work is so much easier. Develop a pattern, a habit, of doing hard work and pretty soon it’s easy. It becomes a part of who you are, and how you operate. When others make excuses, you get things done. And it keeps you ready for when opportunity knocks on your door.
From: Twitter, undocumented feed (my bad)
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/thomasaed104931.html
Photo courtesy of grendelkhan