February 2, 2010

Blunt Statements about Work

One of the advantages of having great Parents and, at the same time, a great relationship with them, is benefiting from their good habits. In my case, I keep gaining from their penchant for persistent reminding.

Their telling me to “work hard” is never tiresome, especially coming from my Father, who was a farmer and came to America to marry the love of his life. He went to school to get a secure job and buy a small but ruthlessly sufficient house. All the while, he and my Mother raised me. My Parents are the hardest-working people I know. Teaching by example, as they did for me, is evident everywhere on the web. Here were two statements that I happened to discover:
From designer Aaron Draplin, his mission statement reads:
“Work hard. Do good work. For good people.”

From Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk:
“HARD WORK is never not part of the formula.”
To believe that working hard is “overrated” sounds misguided. Even if I work hard on something that was a bad fit to begin with, and felt sorely short-lived, I only realized it after going through it.

The statements by Draplin and Vaynerchuk remind me that hard work is not soft, or “not easy” to use one of my Father’s favorite phrases. Hard work is what it is. It’s meant be done with a hard bite. The statements remind me, most of all, of my Father who is also the most straightforward person I know. He would appreciate the bluntness of these statements, which speak of something easier said than done. It also speaks of something that takes time. In a faxed interview done in 1995, a Portfolio Center student asked designer and author Paul Rand about his favorite hobby. Rand bluntly answered, “Work.”

The “magic” of working hard is exactly that: Doing it. But doing it in a way that you don’t burn out, which is another easier-said-than-done and persistent reminder from my Parents: “get sleep.” Working hard and getting sleep serve each other well.

With another year thankfully in the works, I’m reminded to work hard and rest well, bluntly speaking.