Story type: Essay
For “buyers” in big stores,
For clerks in little stores,
For office boys,
For typewriters, reporters, car conductors, household domestics, for all who are hired to work for others, this article is intended.
There is no greater mistake than skimping your work–BECAUSE YOU ARE WORKING FOR ANOTHER, AND FEAR YOU MAY DO TOO MUCH.
For your own sake remember that whatever you do in the way of honest concentrated work you do FIRST OF ALL FOR YOURSELF.
Only one thing in the world can improve you and better your condition, and that thing is your own effort.
You begin life with certain mental faculties, and with certain muscular faculties. Their development or decay depends entirely on yourself.
No work that you do is worthless. It will NEVER pay you to neglect or slur the task that you have undertaken.
You may be idle, in the thought that you are indulging yourself at the expense of your employer. It is a dishonest thought, and it is a stupid thought at the same time.
You may rob your employer of the time that he pays for, but when you shirk your work you rob yourself first of all. —-
You may say that your employer pays you too little. Perhaps he does. But that is no reason for hurting your moral character through dishonesty. It is no excuse for failing to develop yourself.
The store, or factory, or office in which you work is to your mind what a gymnasium is to your muscles.
You enter a gymnasium AND PAY FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF WORKING THERE.
You do not say to yourself: “This gymnasium belongs to another man. The profits go to him, and so I’ll not work hard.”
On the contrary, you realize that the owner of the gymnasium gives you the chance to develop your muscles, and you thank him, although he makes you pay for the privilege. And you do your very best, on the trapeze, rings, parallel bars, or in any other direction.
Act in your work as you do in your gymnasium hours.
There is no kind of work that can fail to make you a better and more successful man if you work at it honestly and loyally.
If you sweep an office, sweep it well. And begin punctually each day, remembering that punctuality acquired in sweeping an office may be used later in governing a city.
Train your mind through your work, whatever it is.
Study the lives of those who have succeeded. You will see that they did whatever they did as well as they could.
Edison was an ordinary telegraph operator. But he was not content with merely working as others worked. He worked very hard, devised means to make more valuable the instruments of his employers. Soon he was an employer himself, and what is far better than being an employer, he was a creator of new ideas and a benefactor of the world. —-
Intelligent readers will not misinterpret this advice to mean that they should OVERWORK themselves, or work regardless of their own physical welfare.
The right course is this:
Do as much as you can in the present, without drawing on your future reserves.
Don’t work all night and then go on the next day. Such effort impairs permanently your store of vitality, and that vitality is your capital.
But never form the habit of neglecting work, of shamming and lying instead of achieving honestly.
You may deceive one employer, or ten. But 36> you can’t deceive nature, and you can’t deceive yourself.
You can form good habits only through regular work. You can develop your faculties only through exercising them honestly and systematically. —-
MERELY WORKING “FAIRLY WELL” IS NOT ENOUGH.
If you want to run a mile fast, you do not merely jog. You try every day to run the mile faster than you did the day before. If you want to learn to jump high, you strain your muscles and try over and over to do what you can’t do. Ultimately you achieve it.
Keep that in mind when you work. Remember that you must wind yourself up. The most watchful employer may discharge you. But he cannot wind you up.
Be a self-winding machine, and keep yourself wound up.
Your hardest effort may fail to achieve greatness. But honest work will at least make it impossible for you to be a failure.
Train your brain, nerves and muscles to regular, steady, conscientious effort. Make up your mind that FOR YOUR OWN SAKE you will make every effort your best effort.
You will soon find yourself a more successful, more self-respecting, abler man or woman.
And here is an argument that should be more powerful with you than self-interest:
Remember that the world needs honest, conscientious men and women, able to do good work themselves and to people the earth with children born of honest parents.
Make up your mind to be one of the world’s HONEST citizens.
To improve the world begin by improving yourself.
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