Note: This piece was inspired by a quote found in the book The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team That Helped Win World War II. I originally shared this passage with my teaching staff.
The Power of Hard Work:
“I would not go through Pre-Flight (training) again for a million dollars, but I would not trade the experience for ten million.” Ed McMahon
Think about the biggest accomplishments in your life.
No, no, no. Stop reading and think about them. This passage will still be here when you’re done.
Now, please answer a few simple questions about those accomplishments:
- Were they easy?
- Did they take a long time?
- Did you ever have any doubts that you’d succeed?
- How did you feel once you achieved your goal?
I’m not a mind reader, but I think I know how you answered most of the questions:
- No, it was not easy. At all.
- Yes, it took forever. It was a slow process.
- Yes. There were times I never thought I could do it.
- I felt fantastic. I was on top of the world.
I love that quote from Ed McMahon above. It says so much. So so so much.
I have never been pushed to that limit, not even close. At all. Ever. But I can image it. I can imagine the physical and mental rigors that come with military training – especially an intense and grueling program such as that which was required of our finest soldiers and airmen in World War II.
Going through the process must have been… um, well, well, it rhymes with “well.”
But once it was over, completed, and achieved, the feeling of accomplishment must have been intense.
“I did it. I’m on top of the world.”
When we get things too easily, we don’t appreciate them. When we get things too easily, they often have very little value to us.
But when we get things that take effort, time, perseverance, and skill… those things become among our most valued.
There is something wonderful about achievement, even if during the process of working toward that goal it was a struggle and we were filled with doubts.
Once we accomplish a task, it gives us the mental (and/or physical) strength to try something else.
Accomplishment provides confidence. And when we are confident we can achieve things greater than we ever thought possible.
How does one achieve greatness?
The answer is really simple.
One achieves greatness by aspiring and working to be great.
Greatness also comes from never being satisfied.
There is something about the struggle that comes before achievement that is also important to note.
The struggle is often miserable and horrible and painful. We all know that.
But, in addition to satisfaction, pride, and euphoria, another emotion also comes along with accomplishment… sadness.
A melancholy feeling that it’s over often accompanies satisfaction.
Why are people sad when they reach the end?
It’s because there is value in hard and difficult work. There is value in the struggle. We know that now that the task has been completed that, in a way, an important part of our life has ended.
We’re glad it’s all over, but in a way, we wish it weren’t so.
Most times, maybe always, or almost almost almost always, once a person reaches an elusive goal that person sets a new a new and different goal.
The idea is to keep pushing, to keep trying… We need challenges in our lives. We need things to strive for. We must have ambitions and goals that are not easy to attain.
We must push on – ever forward and always.
It’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be.
The most important things never are.