There are those that believe hard work is the measure of success. If one works hard, everything must flow as a result. Compensation, reward, and recognition are all expected because of the contribution given. The most intense the dedication is the higher the expectation. It is an intense equation because of the level of conviction. This must be otherwise why put in such effort?
I easily forget that there are two missing elements from my thought process. First, the institution or individual I am dedicating myself to must be filled with truth. True truth provides a fair response. Anything short of that is asking to be exploited. Before you climb on your righteous horse, there is a second element.
One must consider the content of what one is contributing. Working hard is, in itself, not a particularly compelling criterion for reward. Being dedicated with good intent, even fantastic intent is, in itself, not something that reward is usually solely based on.
The second element is the usefulness of what one contributes. Is your contribution what the company, individual, or even community needs? Does the bizarre metaphor apply to your work? Candidly, “the spider webs are no good for shirts or shawls. No one can wear these weavings! They weave wickedness, they hatch violence.” (Isaiah 59.6) Does our contribution fit what is being asked, even demanded?
As I look at the business on New York's Lower East Side, I see individuals with great ideas. I see many working with a level of dedication that I can only aspire to. I see individuals freely giving of themselves, well beyond the call. As I look at Singapore hustlers, I know people are working well beyond reasonable limits. There is a simple question sitting unasked. Does the community and do I need what they are producing?
With the dawn I see that I hold an opportunity. I can add value with acts of compassion. I can contribute with choices of mercy. I can make a difference in the lives of others. This is the “real” hard work of life.
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