Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. - Theodore Roosevelt
What does that mean?
This is a quote, taken from a speech by a sitting American President, so I hope you can understand his focus on Americans. This longer version of the quote is from the Square Deal speech, which was given to a group of farmers in the year 1903.
“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing… There is no room in our healthy American life for the mere idler, for the man or the woman whose object it is throughout life to shirk the duties which life ought to bring.”
The focus of the quote is to be busy at worthy work. Not finding excuses to avoid work. Not hiding while others toil. Not passing duty off to someone else. But to seize the prize, and get busy doing what must be done.
There isn’t any comment of work being better or worse. There is no exception for the unpleasant chores. Just the simple recognition that all jobs have worth, as do all people.
Combining these two concepts leads to the greatest prize in life, the awesome feeling of doing a job, to work hard, and to give our best. Yes, it may be hot, it may be tiring, and it may be thankless. But you will know you did it. And that is what is important.
Why is doing what must be done important?
What is missing from the quote? Is there any talk of glory? Is there any talk of accolades? Is there any talk of reward? Nope. None of that. Just the satisfaction of a job well done. Why does that bring satisfaction? Because we did what had to be done.
That is the point of the quote. Not everyone enjoys work. There are a lot of days when I don’t either. However, it must be done. Whether it’s your pride that gets you going, or the dependency on a paycheck, you get up and you do it anyway, like it or not.
To me, that is what separates the successful people from those who just sort of slide through life. We can all be successful in some aspect of our lives, if we can stay focused and get to work. Not everyone starts with their dream job. But you stand a better chance if you can work hard.
We can’t always choose what we do. Sometimes there are few options. But we can always choose to work hard, and do our best. Or we can choose not to. How do you feel when you know you could have done better, but couldn’t be bothered to do so?
Where can I apply this in my life?
I know a fair number of people who hate their job more for the feeling it gives them than for any other reason. I wonder how many would admit to not doing their best, not working hard at it? Is their dislike of their job tied to their lack of work ethic?
Think about it. Could you feel energized or happy if you were doing just the minimum? Could you feel good about yourself if you just did enough to get by? I know it would certainly take a toll on me. I would probably begin to hate the job shortly after becoming a slacker.
The author of the quote was a vigorous person. Everything he did seemed to be all-out. Politics was a contact sport. So was ranching, hunting and going on safari. He even led troops in battle. Not much place for shirking you duties there, right?
I’m not saying that we all need to be that busy in that many areas. But I do believe without something in our lives where we put in our best, we will not be satisfied. And remember, this isn’t a gift, given for trying. It’s a prize, something for which you try, and sometimes succeed.
But that, to me, makes the times we succeed seem so much sweeter. If it was a ‘show up and get a prize’ kind of world, how much would you value the prize? If, instead, you had to work hard, and even then, only have a *chance* of getting the prize, that would be valuable, right?
We all have different goals and different standards. But I believe that all humans have a need to succeed, and to be relevant. Finding something to do which is worthy, and doing your best, that is a good thing.
Whether it’s what you do at home, your day job or a hobby, do your best, and feel good about that, no matter what the others have to say.
From: Twitter, @MoveMeQuotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/theodorero109913.html
Photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis
- Ashton Kutcher on opportunity, being sexy, and living life. (emilylhauserinmyhead.wordpress.com)
- 4 signs you’re over your job & 5 things you can do about it (getrichslowly.org)
- Hard labour (winebartheory.wordpress.com)
- “be honest, be kind, be honorable, work hard, and always be awesome” (wilwheaton.net)