Wednesday 2 May 2007

Hard Work

As it is in computing, life operates on the garbage-in, garbage-out principle. The output of our lives is dependent on our input. If you were not born into a wealthy, royal, or influential family, then you are probably stuck like me - the only legitimate route available to attain greatness will be through hard work; there is no other shortcut!

History has it that all men are born equal – mostly with the same number of hands, legs, brain; name it. With the same abundant grace available to all, men can however work out their future – either decide to remain ordinary or become great. If you examine the life of successful people, you probably will marvel at their determination to succeed and the sacrifices they had to make on a daily basis to attain those lofty heights and to retain it. For instance, the basketball legend Larry Bird became an outstanding free-throw shooter by practicing five hundred shots each morning before he went to school. Demosthenes of ancient Greece became the greatest orator by reciting verses with pebbles in his mouth and speaking over the roar of the waves at the seashore – and he did it despite having been born with a speech impairment! No wonder why Henry Wadsworth Longfellow summarized that

“The heights by great men reached and kept,
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.”

Your profession does not matter; you can make waves in your chosen career if you work hard. Are you an artist? If you work hard, you can paint a masterpiece that will challenge that of Michelangelo! If you are into music, who says you cannot compose better than Beethoven? Are you a software programmer? You can compete with Microsoft Corporation and give Bill Gates a heart attack if you work very hard! The list is endless. The impossible becomes possible once you are prepared to pay the price. There is no such thing like overnight success. In our modern world, an elevator could take you several floors in seconds, but when it comes to success, you will have to climb the stairs – one step at a time!

Perish the thought that success is going to come to you on a platter of gold without toiling. Successful men are those that have paid their dues – they worked harder than their contemporaries! According to an achiever, B.C. Forbes, “A price has to be paid for success. Almost invariably those who have reached the summits worked harder and longer, studied and planned more assiduously, practiced more self denial, overcame more difficulties than those of us who have not risen so far.” Forbes’ judgment is true to the latter, there are no gains without pains.
Do you need any other evidence that the solution to your problems is not spiritual? As the Yorubas will say, ‘Work is the cure for poverty.’ If I’m to put it the Obafemi Awolowo way, I’ll say that ‘The gospel of heaven may be rest, but the gospel of earth is work.’

Greatness beckons. Heed the clarion call by working your way to the top. Don’t cut corners, endure the due process. Savor the arduous process, therein lies your breakthrough.

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