Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.
He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
Solomon – Proverbs 10:4-5
Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.
Solomon – Proverbs 12:24
Today I felt discouraged. That’s really the best way of putting it. Fortunately, there were two things that helped me this morning. One was the quotes above. Two was acting upon them. I did a radio show called Diligence, (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/robert-farrell/2013/11/10/diligence) and the very act of doing that made me feel better.
Diligence is simply another way to say Keep Going. With regard to my work, I’ve seen a pattern that is prevalent in much of our work, especially when it involves Purpose. The pattern goes like this:
1. I Get Started (which in itself is often a huge process).
2. I find joy and perhaps even success in the work I’m doing.
3. The work feels easy and natural.
4. I hit a wall.
The wall is a fascinating concept. Anyone who is serious about doing well in the world is going to hit it. The wall can look or feel like any of the following:
· Lack of enthusiasm
· Feeling like success is not just far away, but non-existent
· Feeling a lack of freshness or creativity
· Distractions from the rest of the world
· Discouragement about the lack of attention or encouragement from others.
I’ve experienced all of these in the last few weeks. For example, recently I published my first e-book. While I didn’t expect to make $1,000,000 in my first week, I did hope to do better than I did. So far, even with 1,300 Facebook friends, I’ve sold seven copies…and I bought two of those.
I’m not complaining (well, maybe I am a little). I’m just stating facts. Cold, hard facts. I e-mailed Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, about my results and he told me, “Hey, Robert, my first three sold ZERO.” I imagine he felt worse than I feel now. Since then he has written several books and authored the screenplay of The Legend of Bagger Vance, one of my favorite movies ever.
I’d like to say I’m at the halfway mark between my beginnings and financial success. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing if that’s true. I may be only 10% closer or (hopefully) 90% closer. A grimmer possibility, though a very real one, is that success may never come at all. I have to face that possibility. All I can do then is keep my head down and keep working because this I know for sure:
Success may not come no matter how hard I work. Success will definitely not come if I don’t keep working.
A friend and I were speaking recently and I said that once I get started, I realize that the task I was dreading was not as hard as I thought it would be. She replied that her tasks were just as hard as she thought they would be. At first I dismissed that as negative thinking. Later I realized there was truth to that.
This work I’m doing is hard. Sometimes the writing is hard. The waiting is always hard. Wondering if I will be successful is hard. Rejection or being ignored is hard. To Keep Going is hard. Sometimes it’s all hard.
It doesn’t matter.
I Keep Going anyway.
This morning, as I said, I did a radio show. I didn’t want to do it because I felt that I had nothing new to say. In fact, I felt like I had nothing at all to say and that no one needed to hear me anyway. But I did have something to say and the person who needed to hear it most was me. After a while, I felt enthusiasm, creativity and joy returning to my work. New ideas were coming. I came home (and though an unexpected interruption occurred) and I started writing immediately.
My day is beginning. My life is beginning…again. I’m going to Keep Going. I’m going to be diligent.