As far as attaining success in life, I suppose natural ability has something to do with it. However, in the end, it is work ethic that leads to greatness.
Growing up, my brother and I were given chores to do around the house. I had to take out the garbage every night. I had to bag the newspapers and soda cans/bottles in the garage. I had to take the garbage pails to and from the street. We didn’t receive a weekly allowance. These things were our contribution to our family.
Perhaps our least favorite chores were picking up the dog poop and “weeding the flowerbeds.” However, my brother and I got some fun out of it too. We had a big Holly tree in the yard and sometimes, we would just throw the weeds underneath it; or launch the dog poop over our shoulders with a shovel into the canal. Our parents didn’t find out about it until after we moved. One day, I took a gallon of weed killer and doused everything in the flowerbeds with it. Our parents came home a couple of hours later and noticed that everything in the flowerbeds was dying. They asked me “Matthew, did you do something to the flowerbeds?” I initially said “No,” but then later admitted to drowning everything in those chemicals. I remember, on that summer day, we sure did have a vicious thunderstorm.
As a result of the obligations I had around the house, I learned the value of hard work to achieve an outcome; Machiavelli’s ideology of the “end justifying the means.” I learned that it felt good to have a clean, organized home; I learned how to make something such as a flowerbed have only what I wanted it to have. I learned the element of CONTROL. I also learned how to do things CORRECTLY. Rather than just stuff the papers into the bags, if I slid them in neatly, I could fit more in. I also learned that taking the easy/lazy route of tossing chemicals on everything, doesn’t get the results you want. I learned that success requires hard work and it has to be done right. I literally learned, that “you get out of it what you put into it.”
As the years pressed on, throughout High School, I realized that there were many people who were naturally smarter than me. Some people naturally received a 90 or higher on every test in every class. But I knew that I could achieve the same results if I worked at it. I also knew, my parents had instilled these values in me, and expected me to work hard.
When I went on to college, I didn’t want to continue with it, I had a great job in HVAC and was making decent money. I asked to drop out. I am eternally grateful that my brother made me finish. That makes me better than the people who dropped out because they felt it was too hard. I would never give back my education. I also knew that someone had to pay for my expenses, and it couldn’t always be my parents for the rest of my life.
Many people in High School who were brilliant are now doing nothing but working at the local grocery store. Some of the highest scoring students on the SAT’s are sitting around now, doing nothing. They lack the work ethic. I didn’t do superb on my SAT but I knew I had to work hard to be successful.
Now managing a sales force, I see many people who come in with natural ability. Unfortunately, I see very few who are willing to work hard. So many people are ready to be successful, able to be successful, but lack the will to succeed. Success requires hard work! Many people come in to our organization with natural ability; but they fall by the wayside when it comes to memorization, attitude, and work ethic. In addition, we have also had many people who were not natural-born salesmen, but knew how to work hard. Those people, like myself, are attaining great results.
By: Matthew Hardwick