Recently I was asked what the best advice about work that I could give to my family or anyone else is simple, WORK HARD! I honestly don’t know what else to say! In fact, I’m tempted to end this discussion right here except ya’ll would be disappointed by my decision if I didn’t use my philosophical sense of excess brain power to expound on a topic so mundane and trivial as work! So, I decided to demonstrate my ability to put your desire over my basic logic and exercise some well thought out creativity.
My first piece of advice is taken from Tom Sawyer when his aunt told him to ‘whitewash’ the fence. As I remember the story it was a big fence that needed a lot of paint and Tom wasn’t particularly anxious to paint it. In fact, he was somewhat of a lazy boy because it didn’t take long for him to convince the neighborhood boys that it was fun and if they wanted to try it, they had to pay him for the privilege. What a guy!
I remember that when I was younger, I heard my mom tell someone that I was a miniature Tom Sawyer because I could convince my friends to help do my work and that they would enjoy it. With their help I was able to get my job done much quicker. I used to laugh at this but as I got older, I realized that at the time it may have been funny but as I age it is no longer humorous and that unless Tom was a successful businessman with employees being paid to work for him it would not be the ideal situation for a family or a good way to live one’s life.
Earl Nightingale, a motivational speaker and successful business owner may have appreciated Tom’s budding ability because the advice he once gave to a colleague was, "Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work." While this advice may be profitable in a corporation trying to motivate the workforce, I don’t think I’ll use it to help my grandchildren learn the art of work.
I think Bill Gates developed his philosophy about hiring people from Tom Sawyer. After all he said, “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it." There’s probably some truth to this philosophy but it’s not likely to be implemented.
My dear family, I believe you can take some advice from my Grandma Cazier about raising chickens, “Guys, I really hate to tell you this but there is only one thing that reaches success while sitting down, and that is a hen!” Ok she didn’t really say this, but she worked hard with her chickens and I’m sure she would have given this advice if she had thought of it.
When I was living in Knoxville, Tennessee attending the University I had to work. I came from a family that couldn’t help me with tuition or living expenses, so I had to get a job. At the time the only job I could find was a minimum wage job at McDonald’ flipping hamburgers or sweeping the floor. I had this boss whose education stopped at high school, but he began working for McDonald’s and he succeeded very well up to a point. I always thought he was not the brightest person in the bean bag, and he was always subtly putting me down for being in school working on my master’s degree when he was making so much more than I was without having to go to college. I wish I had this Einstein quote about success when I was working with him. Einstein said, “If A equals success, then the formula is A = X + Y + Z. Where X is work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut."
Thomas Edison said, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." We need to recognize opportunities to improve ourselves wherever we work. Sometimes, the opportunity is obvious and other times it might be found in the skills and knowledge we obtain and then we use these skills and knowledge to get better jobs so we can support our family.
The second thing he said was lived by him his entire life. He really believed that “many of life’s failures are experiences by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." Let’s learn to complete tasks rather than giving up on them too soon.
The final piece of advice I have for my family comes from the cowboy philosopher, Will Rogers. He summarized the most important advice I could give them, “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.”
Let me conclude this story with the same advice I started with. The best advice about work that I can give to my family or anyone else is simple, WORK HARD!
Happy Failing Forward,
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