A couple of days ago, Bob* called me and I could hear the excitement in his voice. He had been unemployed for a year after finishing college and had just found his first job. That year had been a trying time for Bob, however, he kept networking, going to interviews and dealing with rejection after rejection. So when he got his job offer, he not only had reason to celebrate, he started his new job having learned three important life lessons:
Persistence pays off. Bob worked hard the year after college painting houses making a paltry $12.00 an hour. He got discouraged and lost his vision at times. That’s okay, because he kept going on even when he didn’t feel like it. He networked, reminded his friends from time to time of his job search, asked for recommendations on LinkedIn, did volunteer work, and refused to quit. There were many days when Bob thought that his hard work and persistence was all for nothing. But it wasn’t—it paid off.
Change happens slowly, then suddenly. I’ve heard many motivational speakers and authors say that “Change happens in an instant.” Yes, I agree. It happens in an instant—but usually that “instant” happens after a long period of not giving up. We would all like to be instant millionaires. However, we know that the change we want is a process that is often slower than we’d like. The good news is that if we keep at it, we reach the tipping point and then the change happens suddenly. Bob learned that if something was important, if he kept at it, it would happen “suddenly”–after he put in the required time and effort.
The more you put into something, the more you value it. I’m not saying it’s a virtue to make something harder than it has to be–it’s not. However, life shows us that the rewards go to those who are willing to put the time and effort in. If you want to run a marathon, you’re going to have to put in the miles of conditioning and the time it requires. You can certainly go to the pawn shop and buy a medallion some marathoner pawned, but it won’t mean anything. To succeed in life, when things get hard for you, remember to keep at it. The more you give of yourself to get what you want, the more reason you will have to celebrate.
*Name was changed.