Nothing good and noble can be achieved in this life without honest labour and sincere, hard work. All the fine, exquisite sentiments in the world weigh less than a single, splendid action. The harder you work, the greater the luck and pluck you have. The Greek dramatist Sophocles said: “Heaven never helps the man who will not act!” The golden thread that runs through the lives of most successful people is that they all love what they do for a living. All of them have an intense passion for their work. Spending your days doing work that you find rewarding, intellectually challenging and full of fun will do more than all the spa vacations in the world.
We all appreciate the man who does his work when “the boss” is away as well as when he is at home; the man who, when told to deliver a letter to Mr Gilbert, quietly takes the letter, without asking any silly questions, and with no hidden intention of chucking it into the nearest dustbin, delivers it to Mr Gilbert. Civilization is built on the foundation of such nondescript, genuine works performed by committed workers. Such a person is wanted in every office, shop, store and factory. The world pines for such: he is needed, badly needed — the man who can “carry a letter to Mr Gilbert.”
Our share of the work in the world may be limited, but the fact is that it is work that makes our life meaningful and useful for others. Darwin could work only half an hour at a time; but in many diligent half-hours he laid anew the foundation for the scientific theory of evolution. Green, the historian, tells us that the world is moved not only by the mighty shoves of the heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.
Work as the source of human dignity and glory
Some time ago, I boarded a traditional boat used in ferrying people across the backwaters of Kerala. The driver of the boat sat in the engine room reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace. He was neatly dressed, and in his eyes was the splendour of ancient wisdom and his whole being radiated an aura of peace and calm. I was intrigued by this driver of an ordinary boat reading Tolstoy’s masterpiece in the engine room. I decided to talk to him and as I entered the engine room, I found it gleamed and shone. The characteristic foul smell that usually emanates from the engine room was missing.
Prof Dr. John Mathews is a professor of English Literature and Philosophy. A motivational speaker and columnist, he is the author of The Wisdom & Power of Positive Living and An Encyclopaedic Treasury Of Positive Thoughts For Effective And Creative Living.