Lately, I’ve been hearing a new spin on the old saying, “Good things come to those who wait.” The new sentiment is that good things (like happiness) come to those who work hard and go get them. Both versions of the mantra have their merits. The original instills the idea that patience is a virtue, and not everything comes easily. The amended version clarifies the misconception that simply waiting for something good to happen is not enough; you have to work for everything you earn in life. Keep this in mind as you go through life, and understand that every moment you live is another chance you have to work for what you deserve.
1. Nothing will simply come to you
Unless you were born into an incredibly wealthy family, you’re going to have to work for everything you want in life. Unfortunately, many people have grown up with a sense of entitlement, putting hard work off until “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.” We seem to be under the impression that one day everything we’ve ever wanted will simply appear in front of us for the taking. We have to realize that the house we grew up in didn’t grow out of the ground; our parents worked every day of their lives to make sure we had that roof over our heads. Furthermore, if we were simply handed everything on a silver platter, we’d find no fulfillment in life. Working hard may be tough, but it makes earning the things we desire much more rewarding.
2. Risks are a necessity
No one gets anywhere staying in their comfort zone. Expanding this zone may be difficult, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to achieve anything. You’ll never get over your fear of public speaking if you avoid classes and jobs in which you’ll have to give presentations to a large group. Avoidance is never the answer. The worst thing that can happen when you take a risk is you could fall short of your goal. That doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it simply means you’ve found a way that didn’t work. When you take a risk and fall short, make the most out of the negative experience by learning from your short-comings, and changing your plan of attack the next time around.
3. Rewards make work worth doing
I alluded to this before, but it’s worth reiterating: Earning a reward is much more fulfilling than simply being given it. When you’re simply handed everything in life without having to work for it, the only thing that happens is your desire for more increases. Wisdom shows us that you’ll wind up being unfulfilled no matter how much “stuff” you accumulate. When you work for what you’ve earned, you’ll discover you’re happy with what you have. And, if you do desire more, you’ll know that it will come to you through more hard work and dedication. Even if you absolutely despise your job, you can take comfort when you come home at night to all that you’ve earned with your hours of hard work. You can look around and be proud that everything you see is a direct product of your perseverance.
4. Don’t think “What if?” — Just go for it!
We previously discussed how important it is to take risks in order to get where you want to be in life. Of course, it can be hard to take that first step if you constantly second-guess yourself. However, it is important that you don’t ever let the fear of trying hold you back.The more time you spend thinking, “What if I fail?” or “What if I do something wrong?” or “What if I look stupid in front of everyone?”, the less time you have to actually improve yourself. Not only do you waste time, but you also waste energy, as well. You’ll find that being anxious about possible negative outcomes is actually more mentally, emotionally, and physically draining than actually taking that first step and making moves toward your goal. Just dive in, and focus your energy on the task at hand.
5. It gets easier to push yourself, the more you do it
The more you push yourself, the easier it becomes to push even farther. When I started to get serious about writing as a career, I’d read some tips from established writers which included one seemingly daunting task: Write at least 1,000 words a day. Having just started out, that number was incredibly intimidating. Having written almost every day for Lifehack for the past four months, I look back at how I felt about that and laugh. For example, it’s only 10:30 in the morning, and I’ve probably already written over 2,000 words so far. Think of the times you’ve skipped a day at the gym. How much more difficult was it to get back into the swing of things than if you had just bucked up and gone the day before, regardless of how exhausted you were? Once you dive into something, you’ll find that consistently pushing yourself is actually easier than slacking off. You’ll also find you’re much happier with yourself for sticking with it.
6. You control your own destiny
When you go out and work for what you want, you realize that you’re completely in control of your life. Working from home has taught me that I’ll only be rewarded if I put out the effort. When people find themselves stuck in boring, hourly-wage jobs, they often don’t feel the need to go the extra mile, especially if they think there’s not much chance of getting promoted. Why put in extra effort if you get paid the same regardless? Thinking this way hinders your chance to improve not only your work situation, but also your life as a whole. You never know when a better position will open up. If you’ve spent time and effort going above and beyond the call of duty, you’ll not only have made yourself stand out, but you’ll also have gained the skills necessary to be considered a leader. You reap what you sow. Now, go and make sure you use every chance you get as a chance to excel.
Featured photo credit: Flickrr via farm9.staticflickr.com