Diligence is a very far reaching character trait–one that is instilled at an early age and continues through every phase of our lives. Actively practicing diligence may be one of the more difficult to master because its application literally applies in every aspect of our waking hours.
Benjamin Franklin said,” Diligence is the mother of luck.” William Penn said, “Patience and diligence, like faith, remove mountains.” Abraham Lincoln, who said, “The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is diligence. Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.”
The modern definition of diligence means careful or persistent work or effort. At an early age, we teach our children to be diligent in doing their homework. Diligence in students is correlated with academic performance. The support of parents and educators encourage students to be diligent. This type of motivation carries from grade school through college. However, restricting diligence to academic achievement or work performance would be to limit this very comprehensive character trait.
In today’s fast paced, technically advanced, multi-tasking, social media world, with over 300 television stations, and constant interruptions in our workplace, how can we possibly fulfill the definition of, “investing all my energy to complete the tasks assigned to me.” Perhaps we strive harder to be diligent in our primary job environment, but there are so many other life enhancement tasks. Maybe not assignments, but tasks nonetheless, deserving of our best efforts.
So, being diligent may very well be connected to time management, life’s prioritizations, and flexibility. What we define as a priority in the morning, may need to be adjusted on any given day. The challenge is to be cognizant of our most important tasks, make modifications when needed, then persevere until we reach a desired conclusion.
Diligence is attained when we perform in an efficient manner to achieve work related goals and personal objectives. Obviously, personal goals vary with each of us, for we all possess different aspirations. But there is a commonality, and that is time. As the legionary UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
When we think of diligence, most often we think of our workplace performance—doing our job well, but diligence transcends our job. For example: Being diligent in:
- Investing quality time with our spouse and children
- Contacting family members and friends on a regular basis
- Nurturing our health—dieting and exercise
- Interactions with strangers—i.e., showing respect and making a good first impression.
- Civic responsibilities—not just being appointed to a board or winning an election, but exerting resolve, to study, and properly prepare to do the task at hand.
- Nurturing our faith—seeking to be a dedicated servant
- Personal time—hobbies, activities, and personal growth
And the list goes on and on.
Diligence is a far reaching character trait and is applicable to each of us all day long. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. If you know why you get up every morning and it’s meaningful to you, discouragement may challenge you at times, but it won’t keep you from pursuing what matters to you most.
In the words of Vince Lombardi, legionary coach of the Green Bay Packers, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” That is diligence.