Most dream of being financially successful. Many will say things like, “I’d do anything to be that guy!” But would you? Because chances are, “that guy”, worked hard in the past—and most likely does so now—to enjoy what he has today.
In the same way, it’s easy to rationalize why we haven’t succeeded financially like we wish we had. Not being good in school. Not having grown up in the right family or community. Not knowing the right people.
But history is filled with stories of highly successful people—financially and otherwise—who had little natural advantage. The common denominator is they were all diligent.
Diligence Trumps Most Disadvantages
Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.” Proverbs 10:4 (NASB)
The Hebrew word for diligent means “a cutting or chipping away; determination.” It implies progress made by something sharp and persistent.
Diligence is a tremendous equalizer. Too often people convince themselves that only those who achieve academic honors will truly succeed, at least succeed financially. That’s not true.
Studies show that most millionaires weren’t the smartest and didn’t get the best grades in school. Most were B or C students and they had to work hard to get those grades. But most of them say that the real life lesson of learning to work hard was more important than graduating with a 4.0 GPA.
Teddy Roosevelt said, “I am only an average man, but I work harder at it than the average man.” That describes most millionaires and others considered successful.
If you never really stood out academically in school, take heart! Sometimes the education system misses those of the greatest potential. E.g.,
- Albert Einstein: couldn’t speak until 4 or read until 7.
- Isaac Newton never did well in school.
- Thomas Edison was considered addle-brained by his teacher.
- Werner von Braun, the great mathematician, failed ninth grade algebra.
- The great composer Haydn gave up on making a musician of Beethoven because he seemed a slow and plodding man with no apparent talent.
- Walt Disney was once fired by a newspaper editor because he had “no good ideas”!
Just because you don’t always seem to perform in certain settings, like school, doesn’t mean you can’t achieve great things in life. It certainly doesn’t give you the excuse to punt school—you should develop diligence there as well and learn to always strive to do your personal best. Working hard at doing your best will always be of greater value than simply getting the best grades.
Motivation To Work Hard
Working hard doesn’t have to seem like hard work or drudgery. The difference is in loving what you do or not loving it.
Thomas Stanley found in his survey of over 700 millionaires that a key factor for their success and motivation to work hard is doing what you love to do. Finding a vocation that not only suits you but one that motivates you. Why would anyone want to spend their life doing something they don’t like?!
When you do something you love, you’re automatically passionate about it. And, you’re generally equipped to do what you love to do. And what you don’t have, you’ll be sufficiently motivated to get, whether education, experience, proficiency, whatever.
Get After It!
Don’t allow yourself to be cheated out of your potential by focusing on what you don’t have. Consistently chipping away persistently can overcome most obstacles.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” Ecclesiastes 9:10
In all labor there is profit…” Proverbs 14:23
Find what you love to do and are equipped to do—then get after it!
Question: To what degree has diligence been a factor in your success? Share your answer in the comments below.