We all search for meaning and hope that we are influencing others and that our life’s purpose will lead us to happiness.
We have been taught that with hard work we will be rewarded. If you like your job, it is easy to put in the effort. Each generation complains that the younger generation lacks work ethic, doesn’t’ understand the value of hard work, and that they are entitled. Entitlement is an attitude, and we all know or have worked with people who have a sense of entitlement. The skill that entitled people lack is hard work. We live in a society where everyone wants things to be easy. Nothing in life is accomplished without heavy lifting. Work, effort, and, time are all needed to achieve any goal, whether it is to be physically fit, achieve scholastic goals or professional goals. Picking yourself up when you fall down and meet obstacles builds perseverance and earns rewards.
Hard work, is both what we physically exert and mentally, a state of mind.
Your definition of hard work and success should support each other. For some people, success is being a good provider for their family. Some want the six-figure income with the corner office, and others want to serve others. The meaning of success changes over time. For example, when I was a stay at home mom success to me was having a clean home, happy and healthy children, and teaching them to be good individuals. When I went to graduate school, success was balancing work, family, and school to achieve my goal with the best grades I could. While serving as president of a women’s organization, success was remembering everyone’s name (not an easy feat). With every job I have had, I felt successful when I gave my all and continued to learn and grow. Another success for me is achieved daily after a good workout. Success doesn’t have to be grand and it can be quite personal.
Hard work, dedication, sticking to something regardless of the obstacles or challenges, provides us with success and a sense of accomplishment. Being successful doesn’t mean there is a timeline on your efforts to achieve your reward. Having a positive attitude even when things are hard, helps to keep you focused and moving forward toward your goals.
One of the greatest challenges I have observed is that today’s society we want everything instantly. In general, we have become impatient and want it now. We want the rewards with little effort. Hard work is a value, a soft skill that must be taught to every person. Everyone needs training, they need to create habits, given responsibility, and struggle through challenges to learn perseverance. You can’t be successful and skip the essential skill of hard work. Hard work is not always physical, hard work is expending effort, energy and a good attitude to accomplish a task or goal.
I have met people in multiple generations that believe the world owes them. Labels are put on everyone and everything. Labels include veteran, disabled, mental illness, learning disability, wealthy, and so on. There are many with the attitude that because of the label(s) they wear they are entitled to certain privileges without having to work for it. Too often we see people quit and give up, especially at the first sign of a challenge or hardship. With everything available at our fingertips, the western world often acts like they no longer have to work hard, in contrast, we see people in third world cultures that have nothing and they are happy. With a good attitude, we can be happy with what we do have. What is your definition of success?
Not everything in life gives us rewards, the rewards are often intangible, the knowledge that you did your best, that you achieved your goal, that you helped another human being. Effort in the workplace is the self-satisfaction that you gave 100% or more to the job, going above and beyond.
One of the great things about attitude and effort is that they focus on what we can control (such as mindset) as opposed to what we cannot control (such as circumstances).
- Positive Attitude: Choosing to be positive in every situation.
- Full Effort: Striving for excellence through daily discipline (giving your best).
If you’re like me, you need to be reminded about what you can and cannot control. It starts with an attitude. No matter what the circumstance may be, we have the choice to be positive. Setbacks and challenges can knock us to our knees, it is picking ourselves up and proceeding forward that determines success.
I met an author once who was also the mother of twelve children. One of the daughters said that it was difficult at times to take their mom seriously when she was scolding them because she always had a smile on her face. This wonderful woman chose every day to have a good attitude. Having a good attitude does not prevent us from having hardships and challenges. A good attitude will give you the armor you need to face those challenges and continue onward.
Everyone is responsible to put in a good day of hard work and effort. A good attitude provides the shield we need when things are tough. Businesses need to develop work cultures that encourage creative ways to be positive and reward hard work. We need to always give our best effort to the businesses/organizations we work for. Be our best selves to our co-workers and employers. I had an employee who when asked to perform a task would reply “happy to help”. Are you always willing and happy to help? We should all work to contribute to society and do what we can to make our lives and the lives of those around us better, no matter our circumstances. Choose to find joy and have a good attitude regardless of the task at hand.
Cheryl Viola, MBA, Executive Director
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