Luck vs. Labor

Do you remember the first time you did it? It was exciting, it was new, and so far, you were good at it. Once you knew the concept, getting the hang of it was simple.  So simple in fact, that you could picture the possibilities of a future doing it.

What was it? Does the “it” really matter? It could have been golf, playing cards, the stock market, or something like computer programming. We have all had our moments where we learned something new and then let our imaginations run wild with thoughts of grandeur. We thought we were gifted and that making money at this was a possibility. But then the luck fades and the reality sets in. We realize the talent, the beginner’s luck, only took us a little way and to get farther would take work. It would take skill.

“Luck is ever waiting for something to turn up,” says [Richard] Cobden; “labor with keen eyes and strong will, will turn up something. Luck lies in bed, and wishes the postman would bring him news of a legacy; labor turns out at six o’clock, and with busy pen or ringing hammer lays the foundation of competence. Luck whines; labor whistles. Luck relies on chance; labor, on character.”

Stick to the thing and carry it through. Believe you were made for the place you fill, and that no one else can fill it as well. Put forth your whole energies. Be awake, electrify yourself; go forth to the task. Only once learn to carry a thing through in all its completeness and proportion, and you will become a hero. You will think better of yourself; others will think better of you. The world in its very heart admires the stern, determined doer.

Orison Swett Marden, Pushing to the Front

Imagine Alexander Graham Bell relying on luck instead of labor. What would our phones look like today? Would we even have them? To the outside world, Bell’s talent was extraordinary. But they only saw the end results of the endless experiments, trials, errors, and do-overs. It wasn’t what Bell was born with that made his name stand out in history. It was what he did after he was born.

Our natural gifts will only take us part of the way. The rest we must develop.

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