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Leadership Thought #353 – The Extra Effort Is Always Worth It

Most things of importance and value in life require some level of effort.  Some people get lucky and have success, happiness and self-fulfillment fall in their lap, but they are few and far between.  In life it has always been that little extra effort that makes the difference.  We all must accept that there are many people who will be more intelligent, better looking, more talented, have more advantages, and be more capable than us, but only you as an individual decide if they will outwork you.  I’ve found that when you are tired and/or feeling lazy and could easily talk yourself out of doing something, but do it anyway, that’s what separates you from the pack. Success in life and business requires consistent, focused, sustained effort.

Most people will do what they have to do to survive.  It’s part of our natural survival instinct. Despite many media reports and political ads to the contrary, the majority of people in this nation (and world) get up every day and go to work, procure food and water, provide secure shelter for their families and obey the rules of civil society. Depending on where you are located on the socio-economic scale this can be hard or relatively easy, but it always requires some level of effort.  Sadly, far too many people in our world have to struggle with the basic necessities of existence (which is too vast a topic for this blog and something that should concern all of us).  No one just wakes up every day and does nothing and thrives.  Even the wealthy have to work at staying that way.  And, too much leisure ends up having a long term adverse impact on any individual or society – just look at your history books. 

Of course, we all know that there is a big difference between success and survival.  I would argue that no matter where you look, the hardest working people in a community do better than their peers.  Once you accept you lot in life and become complacent you are doomed to remain stuck at that level.  If you aspire to something better and consistently work towards that objective especially when it’s difficult, good things tend to happen. We see this happen in business all the time.  Companies who rest on their laurels and past track record of success become vulnerable to more hungry competition.

I’ve always struggled with applying Darwin’s theory of the “survival of the fittest” to human existence, but I do understand why people try to do this.  It’s natural to want to get answers as to why some people progress and others do not. While I’m not comfortable narrowing it down to easy pat answers myself, I do believe that work ethic, focus and perseverance are three variables that tend to influence the outcome.  I encourage you to always put forth the extra effort in your life in the places where it matters most to you.  If you simply perform like everyone else, you will get average results at best.


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