“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry.He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
One of my mentors used to tell me, “Whatever you do in life, make sure you do it great!” If you are giving anything less than your absolute best, you are just wasting your time. If you are an athlete training for a big competition but don´t give it all you have, why are you even wasting your time? If you are studying but checking social media at the same time, why don´t you just stop studying? You might as well not do it.
You need to value yourself and your time enough to give it your all every day. No matter what you are doing, you owe it to pursue your greatness with all your power. When you have big goals in life, and you set out to climb your "Mount Everest", why would you give anything less than your best? It is natural to slack off sometimes, but any time you do, you need to take a deep look in the mirror and tell yourself: You let me down!
To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice this amazing opportunity to be alive and make all your dreams come true. Why on earth would you waste this one chance to leave a mark on this earth? Whatever your goals may be, stop making excuses and start finding solutions! Your excuses don´t serve the world, but your actions do!
Let me tell you a story: There are three bricklayers that are asked the same question: “What are you doing?” The first one responds, “I am laying bricks”. The second bricklayer says, “I`m building a church”. The last one responds, “I´m building the house of God”. The first of these bricklayers has a job, the second one a career, and the last one a calling. Do you think this difference will determine the way the three bricklayers will view their lives? Of course it will! While the first two are merely working to earn money, the third man is living his purpose, doing the exact same thing. He finds a meaning in his work and is proud of what he is doing, even if other people don´t see it that way.
What if all of us took that kind of attitude and applied it to our lives? As Martin Luther King Jr. said, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted. Sell insurance or cars like Beethoven composed music. Do your work like Shakespeare wrote poetry. There are no unimportant jobs, but thinking makes them so. The way you think about what you are you doing will determine how you do it. If you think that your job is a waste of time and just there to pay the bills, guess what will happen? You perform miserably and start to hate not only your job, but also your life.
If that is the case for you, there are only two options if you want to live a great life: Change your job or change your thinking. Ask yourself, is it really my job that sucks, or is it my thinking? Are there other people in my situation that are happy and love their what they are doing? If that`s the case, chances are that your thinking is causing the problems. It´s your job then to seek out those people and ask why they love what they are doing. Figure out what they are thinking about their job that makes them happy instead of frustrated. How do they find value and a deeper meaning in what they are doing?
One of the happiest and most inspirational people I have ever seen in my life is the gatekeeper at my university. He stands outside his office every day before sunrise and greets every person with the friendliest smile and “good morning” you could imagine. With this one act of kindness repeated over and over every day, he changes thousands of people´s lives, creating a ripple effect that truly makes an impact on this world. Now, he doesn´t have to do this. In fact, it would be much more convenient for him to just stay in his office all day and do as little as possible. No one would even expect him to do more than that, and yet he is still out there every day, making other people happy. One day I asked him why he was always so happy, and he just said “I love people”. It can be as simple as that. Whatever you do, you can make a positive impact on this world. No matter how unimportant other´s may judge your job, it is up to you to find a meaning in your work and your life!
Whatever you do in life, make sure you do it great! Give yourself to the task completely and enjoy what you are doing. Don´t just build a house, but build a house of God. Don´t just lay a brick, but lay the brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. Repeat this many times, and you will see in front of you a perfectly built house of God. By doing that, you will not just be an ordinary brick layer, but a great one. And, even more importantly, your life will have a meaning beyond yourself.
- Find a deeper purpose in what you are doing. No matter what your job is, you have the ability to change people´s lives and make an impact on this world. Find out why your work is important and how you can do it even better.
- Decide to step into your greatness every day! Living great is a conscious decision and requires deliberate practice. Now that you know why your work is important, do the best you can in every moment of every day. You only have this one life on earth, so make sure that everything you do is great!
- Find a deeper meaning not only in your work, but everything else you are doing. When you are cleaning the house, what you are really doing is giving your children an opportunity to grow up in a clean environment that helps them develop better. When you are working out, you are not just losing some weight, but taking care of this wonderful body that allows you to interact with the world and impact everyone around you. Find a deeper purpose, and then go do the best you can with the life you have!