Donnerstag, 26. Juni 2014

Unsexy skills that will change your life, part III.

Today I give you another chapter in the series on "unsexy skills" – i.e. the characteristics that at first don’t seem to be glamorous at all, but without which you won’t get far in life.
Or at least not to a place you want to be in: a successful, fulfilled life without financial hardship.
(all students who DO NOT aspire to this, please change direction now and leave the room. Thank you.)

Some of you will already have absorbed the following characteristic with the proverbial mother’s milk, and others will start feeling rather uncomfortable now.

Same thing applies this time:
Don’t take it in intellectually and then add this as another bullet point to your “I-will-have-to-improve-myself-to-do-list”, but absorb and bam! straight to your heart.
Everything will fall into place, you will see…

Because today we’re talking about:

3. Industriousness, diligence, effort.

The media shows a somewhat warped image of reality (yeah, right, something ENTIRELY new):
They will “discover” you and you can obtain fame with sometimes very limited abilities.
Sometimes just your looks will suffice, sometimes weird behavior – at any rate you’ll be a “celebrity” in no time and earn a living by doing nothing (or very little).

To mention it right at the start:
If you want to achieve anything in life forget people like that once and for all.
Just forget it.
Don’t ponder for one second why they can do this and that, don’t analyze it and don’t even wish for their path in life, not even a little bit.


I am utterly convinced:
No sweet without sweat.

By this I don’t mean that you have to earn everything in life.
No – I just believe that making an effort as such is something very beautiful and fulfilling and you won’t get very far without it.

Yes, there are people who are privileged to (or forced to) work just a little or even not at all.
In most cases these people had previously been very diligent, so that they can have others work for them now.
Or their parents were very industrious.
Or their parents’ parents – no matter: real success has its seed from which the tree grew, the fruit of which still feed the grandchildren.
A wonderful thing!

Industriousness has a really unsexy image – if your friend whispers in your ear that “this guy is a really hard worker” you probably won’t tear off your clothes the next time you happen to run into him.
Although this man will probably get far in life ;).
To make an effort means to set yourself a goal and to reach it – independent of the current mood and independent of whether you ”feel like it”.

Our society holds hanging out, relaxing, resting in high regard.

Sure, they are all important and definitely have their place – but some people do NOTHING but relax.
And then they are surprised that nothing’s progressing.

Some are convinced that one day success will just fall into their lap – that their time will come.
With this attitude they completely forget to plant what was given to them NOW (their seed), and to care for it and nourish it every day.
And then to their great astonishment there is no tree to be seen.

Believe me:
There are only few trees that can walk.
I haven’t met any until this day, if I really think about it.
There will be no tree walking up to your doorstep or even fall from the sky – if you have not planted one and have diligently cared for it.

And now I’ll tell you something:
It is NICE to be busy.
And it is NOT nice to always just hang out – somehow a human being isn’t made for that!

I read a beautiful sentence on Instagram yesterday:
"created to create".

That’s exactly how it is!
You have so many abilities, gifts and talents that it is a disgrace to squander them and, instead of putting them to good use, to lounge around on the couch, to meet people for coffee all the time, to hang out for days on end in bed/with friends/whatever, and time is ticking.

I know that in Germany we save water, and other resources are not being squandered either – the real scandal, though, is that many people squander their lives away with cheap television series or meaningless telephone calls.
Why aren’t there any campaigns against that?
Why doesn’t anyone ever say that working hard is sexy: 
Instead there are innumerable funds spent on wellness/relaxation/time-out techniques, week-ends etc.

To be diligent also means to sometimes overcome reluctance – and just get something done.
To tackle things instead of just constantly talking and dreaming about them.
To be industrious means to see something through and to deliver a presentable result – and all that within a reasonable time span.
To make an effort means: here is my goal – I will pull this off – and I won’t stop, because a great song happens to be playing on the radio/my TV soap is about to start/I’d rather talk on the phone to a friend and generally…don’t feel like it anymore.
We all know it all too well.

Being diligent means to exhibit constancy, and not to give up due to all sorts of sensitivities in order to take a time out.
A cigarette here, a coffee there, a little break, just checking in on 5 more blogs and isn’t it time for lunch yet?
You are busy, but not with anything productive – and then you wonder that nothing really progresses?
Oh, come on!

I’ll say it more bluntly:
The opposite of industriousness is laziness.
(and not being relaxed, as some might falsely assume.)

And honestly: who wants to be with a man who is simply lazy all the time?
THAT is totally unsexy!

I believe that most of us could do more* - for that, though, they might possibly have to leave their comfort zone, move their butts, overcome their reluctance and sweep aside the distractions.

Unfortunately we associate such negative things with being “industrious”:
So many unpleasant, tiring things that one rather doesn’t want to do.
Yet it is such a beautiful characteristic!

I enjoy it very much, if my day was successful, and the lovely fulfilled feeling after work is done.
Sometimes I have a choice whether I want to work some more in the evening, or not:  
I am completely free, I don’t have to justify anything to anyone and can decide any which way I want.
And then I sometimes think to myself: “Oh, come on, put in one more effort now.”
Believe me, I haven't regretted it once!
Quite on the contrary!

Some people are too lazy to prepare themselves a fresh meal in the evening that would be beneficial for their bodies – out of sheer laziness they stuff their precious bodies with any old processed stuff.
Some are too lazy to exercise – their reluctance keeps them from staying fit and healthy even into their old age.
Some are too lazy to tidy - and burden themselves and their family with a chaotic environment.

When, with a little bit of an effort, everything could quickly change!

"Yes, Joanna... I do want this ... but then there’s my weaker self and I don’t manage ..."

Baby, honestly:

The “weaker self” is an inferior, utterly weak energy of reluctance and laziness that stops you from living your full potential.
And just because they gave it a name, wrote tons of books about how to overcome it, and invented tons of techniques how to handle it – it still stays weak, little and copies everything you do!

It’s NOTHING, miserable, ridiculous and is NO threat to you at all.
You’ll get over it so bloody easily!
You won’t allow an ant to bring you to your knees either, do you?
Even if they called it “the weaker self ant” and wrote books about it – it would still remain an ant that you remove with a flick of your thumb!

That’s how the cookie crumbles!
The weaker self is just an excuse for the weak who don’t want to anyway.
But you want to and that’s why it’s not even worth mentioning.
You can save on those books.
(You better give the money to me, it’s gonna be in good hands. A joke! A jo-o-o-ke!)

"But Joanna..."
Not worth mentioning!!!
No obstacle for you, never again!
If you really want to, pfffft!
(if, on the other hand, you don’t want to, then nothing can be done.)

If I write about diligence I do NOT mean “slaving away”, “plugging away” all day long, struggling out of fear of not succeeding in life otherwise.
This is not what I’m talking about!

I believe in a balanced relation between work and leisure – and in a disciplined everyday life which is not used to hang out and about without zest and motivation.

But this is a FAR CRY from stress, pressure, burnout – workaholics have the same problems as lazy bums, they just hide it differently ;).

I don’t place work ethic as a value in and of itself on a pedestal, neither do I say “business before pleasure”.

Instead, how about enjoying business and having the pleasure at the same time?
Somehow this also is your life time – I will never understand that people look forward to the week-end or their vacation more than to the rest of the time.
Of course everyday life is different – but no less beautiful!
Just different.
Usually busier ;).

"Well, Joanna – you can say that, because you have your dream job. I. however, don’t like what I do.”

Yes, I have a dream job.
Nevertheless there are things that I find unpleasant.
Do you want me to let you in on how I handle them?
If I absolutely don’t feel like doing something, I DECIDE to feel like it.
"Come on, Joanna, you are a diligent girl!” – and then I don’t wait until I feel like it (because I might as well wait until the year 2057…), but I get going.
And all is well, EVERY TIME!
Tadaaaa, trick #17!

Whatever I have to do – at least I have somebody near me that I really like.
I am always with somebody who I honestly love, enjoy and value:
And things are great anywhere, together with me – I make them great by my presence, don’t I ;)? That’s why it’s so easy for me.
I’m always there ;).

And third:
If you truly and honestly hate what you have to do, do something else.
But DO something!
And don’t wait until “the right moment” or until “God does something”.
How is God supposed to do something unless through you?

My husband tells me repeatedly that he admires my industriousness.
I wonder every time what he actually means by it – as what he perceives as industriousness doesn’t feel like it to me.
At least not in this “I have to bring myself to do it” sense.
I just love to achieve something, I have fun pulling something off – and when I’m busy I finish much more than other people in the same time, and subsequently myself and my family benefit from it ;).
A win-win situation in other words!

A funny story to wrap up:

Once a Liebesbotschaft reader won the main prize at a give-away.

She wrote me an enthusiastic mail which read:
"I won! Thank you, God, thank you, thank you, thank you!”

I basically answered her:
"God is such a bad blog author.
He doesn’t take pictures, he doesn’t write posts, not once has he started a give-away!
It’s me who does all this, honestly!”

On this note:
Diligence is sexy!
And definitely gets you further!


*I don’t mean mothers with 3 toddlers that are already hovering at the edge of their sanity! 
Just so it’s clear. They should catch some sleep.

Thank you so much, Eva from Ginnell Studio for this great translation!

1 Kommentar:

  1. Liebe Joanna, thanks for translating, your text are vey inspiring but it was though for me to understand it in german, even I can speak a little. Your words are encouraging, but I feel a lack of energy, sooooo many things on my to do list, and I don't feel any productive at all! I know: it's a matter of focus, so I'll keep trying! Anyway I love your blog, your pictures and if you come to Mallorca someday, just let me know! Best regards for you and your family!
    Ps: I really agree with you in the "God" answer...ha, ha...