Chickens, Half-Ways, Almost-Theres and Winners
I’ve come across this interesting quote recently by Stephen King where he says:
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work”
And this is where I started thinking about the very concept of “hard work”.
I started asking myself how much hard work is hard enough? How do we quantify that? What are good examples and bad examples to learn from about hard work?
In the software engineering industry and so many others I’d assume, people fall into one of four different categories:
Chickens are the early quitters; they are too scared to even give something a shot, or cannot be patient enough for a good amount of time to see if they fit into something or not.
Chickens have a very interesting mindset, somehow. They know they won’t fit into something without even trying, and if they did try it, they do it half-heartedly with no true intention whatsoever to see things through.
And these folks spend most of their adult lives working low paying jobs they hate, hoping the perfect opportunity will simply reveal itself to them.
Chicken people are those who live under the impression that the world somehow owes them something. They expect from the world more than they give. They play no role in anyone’s life and they have no impact whatsoever on the future of humanity.
It takes some effort to find what we are good at. It doesn’t always just happen that you know your purpose in the world. It takes a lot of trying, courage and patience, all of which the chicken type of people obviously don’t have.
If you’ve ever been a chicken type of person, or you still are, here’s what you can do about it:
Give things a shot long enough, maybe a year or so, and do your very best to be the best at it. Stay at something even when it starts to feel uncomfortable because that is because if you live your whole life not trying things, you will end up being a person with no purpose, no meaning, and no impact in our world, Is that who you want to be?
The half-ways are a bit better than the chickens, but they are not much better than anything else.
Half-ways are the people who had the courage to get something done, went half-way through a project but quit half way, because it was “too challenging” or “too hard” or whatever other excuse came along.
Half-ways love to blame everyone else for their problems and they expect everyone to help them. They don’t even try to give something enough effort before seeking help from others, and most of the time the minimum amount of effort is all it takes to figure something out. But these are the half-ways we are talking about, so they won’t even give things a solid try.
Being a half-way means you’re a half-baked cake, no one wants to buy that or eat it even if it was for free!
If you’re a half-way person, congratulations! You’ve had the courage to try something new! But you’ve come short at the resilience part. Don’t break in front of the difficulties you may face doing your job. Fight back! Then fight back harder until you win it. If it was easy, everyone else would’ve done it, then how special would it be?
The almost-theres are those who quit right before the job is done.
It’s not always clear when the job will be done because some projects keep going on and on with no vision in the near future for it to be done.
This can also apply to certain problems. Some people quit before trying all kinds of different solutions to solve a problem when there’s only a couple of possible solutions left!
And those folks have done “almost” the hard part, (the part that the chickens and the half-ways couldn’t do, but they fell short on the persistence part) but they fell short after they struggled with a lot of problems and issues.
“Almost-theres” are the ones who pay the highest price — take the biggest toll — amongst all the others we have discussed, but unfortunately, they get back in return almost the exact same results as the chickens and the half-ways.
Persistence is the core value that distinguishes a hard-worker from a quitter or a loser.
Only those who persist in pursuing an accomplishment are the ones worthy of winning, because most of the time persistence is the only fuel you need to get to the places no one ever reached before.
If you are an “almost-theres” person, my advice to you is to fuel up on persistence, tell yourself that you’re almost done with the project, because most of the time you’ll be absolutely right. Part of every journey is the end, nothing goes on forever, so stand your ground and be strong.
The winners are those who take humanity to the next level, no matter where they are, who they are and what they are.
The winners have gathered the three core values of success which the previous three have lacked: patience, resilience and persistence.
And they have earned their success rightfully so.
Because winners are those who spent the nights working while others were asleep.
And winners are those who put in the hours when others decided to play.
And winners are those who are courageous enough to try everything, question everything, examine everything, and not take anything for granted. They leave no rock unturned and no question unasked.
And winners are our hope for a brighter future and a better world. Without them we’re lost, and without them nothing would have changed for hundreds of years.
Everyone is born a winner. Look at the children learning how to walk. They try and fall, and try and fall, then try again and fall. Then they get it right and walk. Then they run and jump and play!
But somehow along the way some of us form a loser mindset. We desert the gift of resilience, patience and persistence we were born with, and we spend the rest of our lives in that state.
Now I’m going to share one of my favorite quotes about hard work from Conan O’Brien:
“Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”