Author's note: I am a compulsive advice-giver-always have been. When my own son was in high school, he wasn't interested in his old man's advice so I wrote it down in the hope that he might change his mind one day. What follows is one piece of that advice. I trust it applies to all of us, regardless of age.
If you’re gonna be a bear, be a grizzly.
Effort is essential to success, but it never ceases to amaze me how few people seem to understand that simple fact.
I have hired quite a few employees in my time; I have also fired a few. The old saying is true: it’s hard to find good help. A good, hard-working employee is hard to come by. All it takes is a little honest effort and a good attitude to stand out.
Most employers have an awful time finding and keeping good employees. It seems that many people work harder at avoiding effort than they would at just doing a good job. They’re determined not to do any more than the bare minimum. What’s more, they think they are owed a living.
What these poor souls don’t realize is that the world doesn’t owe them anything at all. They seem to think that they can—and should—get something for nothing, or get more out of something than they put in. But that’s not the way life works. Nothing worthwhile is accomplished without sacrifice.
Everything in nature operates in this way. Just spend a little time watching common tree squirrels on a fall day, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. A squirrel must store sufficient food in order to survive through the winter. Have you ever seen a squirrel sitting, resting, and watching other squirrels gather nuts for him? Of course not. Every one of them works incessantly, collecting and storing his or her own food supply.
The same applies to people. It’s natural for each of us to do our fair share, and a person who does less is bound to have a negative self-image. That person is like a leech, sucking from the efforts of others.
You would do well to let that sink in: the world owes you nothing. You must earn your keep, pull your own weight. One of the simple secrets to success is that if you pull more than your own weight—if you do more than you’re paid for—you will stand out from the crowd. You’ll automatically make yourself indispensable. And you’ll almost certainly be rewarded for it.