Apply Yourself – Don’t Be Lazy
“He that wishes to eat the nut does not mind cracking the shell.” Polish proverb
Boy, do I hate to admit that I may be lazy. But, at times I know I am. And I suspect I could indulge myself even more if my guilt mechanism would permit it. Most of us are so trained to believe hard work is a virtue and laziness is such a despicable character trait that we do not want anyone to think we may be less than ambitious. Yet, many of us when not stimulated or motivated to tackle a task or project may feel a bit lazy. We may prefer not doing it or anything at all. The “lazy, hazy summer afternoon” is OK occasionally, but as a daily diet, it spells trouble and eventual disappointment for us.
I think there are two types of laziness – a behavior pattern of wanting to do only what we want all the time, living in the present for our pleasure, or we just can’t seem to get started as we have not found our niche in life.
If you fit the first description, turn to the sports page and forget about the rest of this column, but if you fit the second, read on, as maybe going into business will be the stimulus to turn you on to a productive and rewarding life. But, if you do start rounding up family and friends to stake you, be prepared for years of hard work, self sacrifice, disappointment, and occasional elation. Once you make the commitment, if you want success and not the wrath of your family and friends when you lose their money, you will not have the time or the luxury of being or feeling lazy.
Success may look easy, but it is not; it comes from practice and hard work. You will find that owning your own business is not a shortcut to success. It is long hours, personal sacrifice, neglect of family and pleasures, plus hard work. Successful entrepreneurs appear to have life easy, money to spend, and others to do their bidding – true, but such success comes only after applying your talents with determination and focusing on your goals.
If you think you work hard for someone else, wait until you work for yourself. True, no one is telling what to do – except your employees, your customers, the bank, and the taxman. You will have deadlines and tasks to complete. You will have requests to comply with; you will have problems to solve, and challenges to overcome. You will discover that hard work and business success go together.
Don’t be like Peter, who started a gift shop and, once launched, took afternoons off, enjoyed three-day weekends, and believed that the art of modern management was delegation. He loved issuing commands and going to lunch, long lunches. After all, he was the boss! He left the “work” and details of his business to others. After all, he was the owner! You know what happened – he went out of business.
Employees are quick to note if the owner is a bit on the lax side, if he or she is putting things off, or attempting to do as little as possible. They soon imitate their boss; after all is not the owner a role model?
Lazy individuals can hide in Fortune 500 companies, government bureaucracies and academia – some even pride themselves on how little they do. It is as if they have pride in cutting corners or besting others – such as parking in a handicap zone and getting away with it. Such an attitude toward life and career does not work well if you want to be a successful entrepreneur.
Ask yourself if you are lazy? As I say, sometimes I am. I have days that my to-do list remains unchanged. I can try to make excuses for myself, but I never really believe me. I tend to postpone some tasks and I have found sometimes that the energy used worrying about the task is more than the work itself takes. It is my opinion that the more you have to do; the more you will accomplish. My success suggestion to you is pile it on your plate; you can get it done. You may well find that when the feeling of owning your own business becomes exciting, work stops being work.
Next week read about Step 4 – The Importance of Being Organized.
Article © Copyright 2001 Dr. Paul E. Adams. Syndicated by Paradigm News, Inc.