Uncommon sense: Hard work (1922)

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Uncommon sense: Hard work

by John Blake

It is easy to sit and watch others work. But we know of no employer who will pay you wages for doing it, unless you know how to do the work yourself, and are working hard at the job of supervising it.

It is easy to travel about the world in steamships and parlor cars, very pleasant and profitable to the man with an inquiring mind.

But that is a vacation occupation, and unless you have earned the money to do it by hard work, you will get little out of it.

It is easiest of all to feel sorry for yourself, and to think that you haven’t had a fair chance in life, and that you would have been a big success if you hadn’t met with so much injustice and bad treatment.

But that will get you only unhappiness, which is the least desirable thing in all the world.

There are many things in life that are well worth doing, but none of them are easy.

The first-class fiction writer takes delight in his job, hut he also works at it — harder than any man who is not a first-class fiction writer over dreams of doing.

The great tenor finds pleasure in his job, and incidentally in the money he gets from it. But he works about six or seven hours a day at it now, and in earlier life, he worked ten or twelve hours, receiving far less pay for exactly as good music.

If good jobs were to be had by little effort, practically everybody would have a good job. The reason that they are so few, and that so many of those few are not filled, is that all of them demand the hardest kind of hard work, not only to get but to keep them.

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Genius, which is said to know how to do things before it is born, has to work just as hard as mediocrity to gain and keep success.

Nothing you can think of that brings real rewards can be accomplished without more work than most of us can contemplate without getting tired at the mere thought of it.

Yet people are doing it right along, and you seldom hear of any of them killing themselves in the effort.

If you have made up your mind to do something unusual or to be somebody of importance, learn how to work twice as hard as you ever did before. That is only a first step. The second is to think hard. If you can do both, and keep them up long enough, you may land, but remember you will have a lot of competition.

Even hard work finds plenty of men to believe in and practice it, and most of them get what they are after.


Illustration: Men working, United States – 1922 Hart Schaffner & Marx, Chicago

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