on Hard Work and Reality


Everyday, almost everywhere we look, we are being bombarded with ‘success stories’ and given the impression that we can ‘make it’ if we try well enough, at least it’s not impossible. What’s amiss however is, how do we try well enough in the right direction?

While its impressive that there are these success stories, how did they get there? It as if, as portrayed, they made a sudden jump from nothing to something and we in our naive pursuit struggled blindly and compare ourselves with this success and very often forget that they had their own rough times– in fact it reminds me of a Nigerian proverb:

When the yam [1. A plant similar to potatoes but bigger] is being cooked, no one notices; but when it’s getting pounded then every one notices and shows up. [2. Usually, the pounded the yam is tastier than it being eaten without]. And the wisdom from C.H. Spurgoen:

Hard work is the grand secret of success. Nothing but rags and poverty can come of laziness. Elbow grease is the only stuff to make gold with. No sweat, no sweets. He who would have the crow’s eggs must climb the tree. Every man must build up his own fortune nowadays. Shirt sleeves rolled up lead on to best broadcloth; and he who is not ashamed of the apron will soon be able to do without it. "An idle mind is the devil’s workshop"
Believe in traveling on step by step; don’t expect to be rich in a jump.

Great greediness—
brings much sorrow.
Slow and sure is better than fast and flimsy. Perseverance, by its daily gains, enriches a man far more than fits and starts of fortunate speculation. Little fishes are sweet. Every little helps. Every day a thread will eventually make a garment in a year. Brick by brick (or in America, wood by wood), houses are built. We should crawl before we walk, walk before we run, and run before we ride. In getting rich, the more haste the worse speed. Haste trips up its own heels. Hasty climbers fall suddenly.

It is better to have a little furniture than an empty house. In these hard times, anyone who can sit on a stone and feed himself had better not move. From bad to worse is poor improvement.
In a great river sweat fish are found,
But take good heed lest you be drowned.

Make as few changes as you can; trees often transplanted bear little fruit. If you have difficulties in one place you will have them in another; if you move because it is damp in the valley, you may find it cold on the hill. Where; will the Carmel go that he will not have to work? Where can a dairy cow live and not get milked? Where will you find land without stones or meat without bones? In one place seeds grows; in one nest the bird hatches its eggs; in one oven the bread bakes; in one river the fish lives—everything has its place.
Do not be above your business. Anyone that turns up his nose at his work quarrels with his bread and butter. S/he is a blacksmith who is afraid of his own sparks; there’s some discomfort in all kind of work. If sailors gave up going to sea because of the wet, if bakers left off baking because it is hot work, if plowmen would not plow because of the cold, or if tailors would not make our clothes for fear of pricking their fingers, what a pass we should come to!

One cannot get honey if one’s are frightened of bees, nor sow corn if you are afraid of getting mud on your boots. Lackadaisical people had better emigrate to Fool’s-land, where men get their living by wearing shiny boots and purple gloves.

Never indulge in extravagance unless you want to make a short cut to the workhouse. Money has wings of its own, and if you find it another pair of wings, don’t be surprised when it flies away.

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