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There have been recent conversations in our home about what it means to ‘work hard’. Different generations have different definitions, I get that, but I think we can all agree that hard work takes four things: integrity, sweat, humility, and sacrifice

When I put an image to ‘working hard’ I picture the Brawny Man in the red flannel shirt with sleeves rolled up. Or I picture Pa from Little House on the Prairie; again he had his sleeves rolled up. Why do I associate rolled sleeves as hard work? It seems I’m not the only one. According to the Cambridge Dictionary to roll-up-your-sleeves signifies a person is ready to work.

Are your kids missing out?

When I was a teen I was taught to work first, then play. I also was taught that having a job was important and that you had to work for what you wanted. There has been a lot of chatter about Millennials (people born between 1982 – 2004) not knowing how to work hard. This disturbs me. For one, I’ve met many millennials that have two jobs and living on their own. They’re hard workers, they’re happier, and they’re confident.

Working hard gives me pleasure. I feel good about myself and I love the feeling of accomplishing something. At the end of the day, I can say with a smile on my face, “I put in a hard day’s work!” But are some Millennials missing out on this natural high?

In a study by Vanderbilt scientists, they discovered that people who were willing to work hard had higher dopamine levels than those who were not keen on the idea. Remember dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy and good. In other words…a University of Connecticut researcher, John Salamone states, “Low levels of dopamine make people…less likely to work for things. So this work-hard-bit has to do with your brain.

Teach how to work hard

Here are four tips to weave into the lesson of how to work hard:

  1. Make realistic attainable goals.
    • This is a small example; my young son was shooting hoops. He wants to be a great basketball player, so I said he couldn’t come in for dinner until he made 5 shots in a row from where he was standing. I gave him a realistic goal, one that challenged him, and one that would give him great pleasure. So what happened when he made his goal? He jumped up and down and cheered! Need a little help in making goals? Check out my free printable in Freebies.
  2. Focus on your dreams. What drives you?
    • If you want it bad enough, you’ll naturally work hard to get it. How bad do you want “it”? That diploma, that promotion, that certification, that house, that small business, that weight loss?
  3. Exercise and eat healthy foods.
    • This one has to be one of the easiest ways to get motivated to work hard. If you feel good, you’ll be more confident, make better decisions, be more alert, and be more creative…and probably make more money. Here’s a post I wrote on weight-loss and how to get started.
  4. Integrity.
    • By simply having strong moral principles, being honest, knowing what is right from wrong, and following through with commitments will help you. It’s hard work to have integrity, but when you do the right thing you again trigger the dopamine.

Let’s hold each other accountable to use our gifts, abilities, and morals to work hard, to make a difference, to be driven, and to be part of the big picture. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to roll-up your sleeves.

By CT Copyright © 2017 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

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