There is a big difference between a “want ethic” and a “work ethic.” The difference is this: Wanting is easy. Working is hard.
To get the outcomes you want in life, you must be willing to do the work required. Achievement is the result of consistent, discipline-driven action in pursuit of your goals. The outcome you get is determined by the action you take. You don’t get the outcomes you want; you get the outcomes you work for.
- Want to learn a new language? You’ve gotta do the work.
- Want to lose weight and get in shape? You’ve gotta do the work.
- Want to improve the culture in your organization? You’ve gotta do the work.
- Want to improve a relationship in your life? You’ve gotta do the work.
This is why Event + Response = Outcome (E+R=O) is so helpful. For every outcome you want, there is a necessary response. If you don’t engage in the necessary R, you won’t get the desired O. If you engage in a default response, you will get a default outcome. But if you choose a disciplined response, you will get the best possible outcome. It’s cause-and-effect. Outcomes are earned by the quality of your response.
It’s important to understand that the O is feedback about the effectiveness of your R. If you are not getting the outcome you want in some area of your life, the system is giving you feedback that you need to improve your R or change it. Don’t take it personally; don’t waste time complaining or trying to defend yourself. Invest all your energy into doing the work to get better.
Life will test how committed you are to the outcomes you want. Here’s the test: Identify an outcome you want, clarify the work required to achieve the outcome, and then ask, “Am I willing to do the work? Am I willing to persevere through the obstacles and difficulties and discomfort until I achieve the outcome? Am I willing to do that?” If the answer is no, then drop that outcome and find one you are willing to pursue with discipline. If the answer is yes, then go for it.
Be careful of wanting more than you are willing to work for. Everyone wants; not everyone works.