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

May 14, 2012

Free Fit woman doing gymnastic exercise with fit ball Stock Photo

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 rare.  A little extra effort makes a big difference in life.  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 have found that when you are tired and/or feeling lazy and could easily talk yourself out of doing something, but do it anyway, that is what separates you from the pack. Success in life and business requires consistent, focused, sustained effort.

Most people will do what they must do to survive.  It’s part of our natural survival instinct. Despite many media reports and political ads to the contrary, the majority of t people in this nation 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 easy, but it always requires some level of effort.  Sadly, far too many people in our world must struggle with the basic necessities of existence.  No one just wakes up every day, does nothing, and thrives.  Even the wealthy must work at staying that way.  In addition, 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 significant 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 your 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 occur in business all the time.  Companies who rest on their laurels and past record of success become vulnerable to more hungry competition.

I have 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 am not comfortable narrowing it down to simple answers, I do believe that work ethic, focus, perseverance, and adaptability are four variables that tend to influence the outcome.  I encourage you to put forth the extra effort always in your life in the places where it matters most to you.  If you just perform like everyone else, you will get average results at best.