The value of hard work

Last week we asked ourselves “what are the building blocks to competence, courage and character?” I said that I believed self-discipline was absolutely foundational. What else?

In my career and personal life, shear hard work has gone hand-in-hand with discipline. I don’t mean mindlessly working almost 24/7 where everything is important and we work ourselves to death. I also don’t mean focusing our hard work only on our job, to the detriment of family, relationships, and leisure. I believe in hard work that balances what we do (our job) with who we are (father, mother, partner, sister, brother, etc) and who we want to be (our aspirations).

What exactly is “hard” work? In my life, it means focus, gaining competence and then over -reaching to be even better than competent, and then repetition:

  • Focus – I’m always better when I am not multi-tasking. At my job I focus on what is important for my job. At home I focus on my family and the things I want to do to be fit, mentally agile, and rested. I try not to confuse my job with home and vice versa.
  • Competence – being good enough is not my goal. Being better today than I was yesterday is my goal. Not at everything, but in things important to me.
  • Repeat the above. Make it habit.

Clearly hard work is foundational to competence, but it is equally important to moral courage and character development. We are not born with either courage or good character, but by focused hard work we can become better people and leaders. So keeping working!






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