[April 4, 2018] While in college my advisor recommended I take a class in U.S. government history. The course was considered one of the most demanding courses at the university. It provided the few of us allowed taking it the opportunity to learn the practical side of government strategy development. Like my classmates, I worked like a dog in the course but achieved greater satisfaction in it than I’d ever expected.
“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.” – Ann Landers, a famous newspaper advice columnist
This history course (not required for my engineering major) was at a point in my life that lacked direction and purpose. It gave me exactly that push I needed to discover something more valuable than any other of life’s lessons. In the course of study, thought, and debate, my classroom teammates and I were to learn that only through hard work coupled with a burning passion could we truly be satisfied in our own lives.
It is no accident that the most successful people are those who are the hardest workers. Famous hard workers like Thomas Edison, Sid Caesar, Miles Davis, Jerry Robbins, and Leonard Bernstein are just a few that made their mark through being tough task-masters; using their talents and intellect to achieve things beyond what was thought possible. Human imagination coupled with hard work can produce just about anything.
Greater satisfaction in any human enterprise can only be achieved through hard work. As a real leader, you must support the hard-working people, surround yourself with hard workers, and – more importantly – be a hard worker yourself. And yet while there are some downsides to hard work, if you let it get out ahead of your family life, only through it can a leader demonstrate the strength of character.
All life demands struggle. Pope Paul VI once said that “those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life.” He was saying that the fact of striving and hard work is the building block of the good person we are today.