Have you stopped to consider whether you are being truly diligent? Chances are your first response is to say: “Well, of course I’m diligent. I get my work done in time. I never miss a deadline. My boss is perfectly satisfied with my performance. So, if that is not being diligent, I don’t know what is.” Strap your saddle, because I am about to take you for a ride!
No, being diligent is NOT meeting deadlines and completing the tasks you are assigned. Being diligent is not about doing what you are supposed to or expected to do. Being diligent is not even about working hard! Turns out our traditional definitions of the term “diligence” fall inadequately short of conveying the true meaning of the word.
Steve Scott presents in his audio series “Lessons From the Richest Man Who Ever Lived” a definition of diligence, and other qualities necessary to achieve wealth and prosperity, From the perspective of the Proverbs of Solomon. King Solomon is generally regarded, and historically accepted, as t he richest man to ever roam the earth. Not only was he rich in material possessions, but the wisdom of Solomon is legendary and has reached epic proportions. It is from Solomon’s most famous writings that Steve Scott draws the lessons he imparts as part of the previously mentioned audio series.
So, what IS diligence? Picture the following scenario. A couple of trees need to be cut down. Two men approach the job. The first one arrives with a hammer in hand. With all his determination and force, he hammers away at the tree for hours and hours and hours. Finally, when his force is about to give, he watches with satisfaction as the tree falls to the ground. The other man, however, brings a very sharp ax. In a matter of minutes he manages to have the tree so week that a simple push would finish the job. One more whack at the tree and down it comes. Which of the two men was diligent? Both completed the job. One of them worked really hard, while the other worked really smart! So, which one was diligent?
Still not sure? Think about this set of circumstances. Two sports teams prepare for the regional championship. They must compete against each other. The favorites labor and practice, putting all their energy and effort into their hour-long practice in the morning and another two hours in the afternoon. When game day comes, people watch in amazement as the underdog easily and comfortably win the game. Turns out that, while the first team was sure they were being diligent, the members of the second team were getting to practice an hour earlier in the morning and staying an hour later in the evening than the other team. So, which team was diligent?
While most of us equate diligence with completing assigned tasks and doing what is expected of us, Steve Scott, through Solomonic wisdom, points out that merely doing what is expected is NOT to be diligent. To be diligent is to go above and beyond. It is to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to reach the GOALS you have set for yourself. It is knowing what is expected, what others are doing and where the rest of the world stops, and then going one step further, at least!
In his work “Lessons From the Richest Man Who Ever Lived” Steve Scott does a great job of challenging our preconceived notions of diligence. Following Solomon’s teachings, Scott urges the listener to work smarter rather than harder, to be aware that activity does not necessarily equal achievement, and that to achieve the level of prosperity of which we are truly capable, we MUST go beyond what is expected and do what is necessary.
by Marcy Amaro