Get Your Hands Dirty

I’ve been thinking about hard work lately.

I remember one time, when I was preparing for a sort of date, I complained to a friend about how it was so hard to make an effort sometimes. Like, at one point, you kind of just don’t want to exert that much, and shouldn’t this thing be easy? Shouldn’t it just fall into your lap when you’re not looking?

But relationships and love are complicated, so let’s talk about something more tangible, and easier to measure. Like, losing weight. My workout schedule has been erratic ever since 2015 rolled around, and I would rather catch up on sleep or eat or do something else than spend an hour in the gym. Until my female colleagues signed up for Curves, the all-female gym near the office, and invited me to join them. I tried it out, and signed up, because it’s cheaper and it’s more intense than what I’m doing now. Of course, as soon as I started, I expected that I will shed pounds like that, completely forgetting that when I first lost weight, it took me lots of muscle pains, sweat, discipline and hard work to lose all that I lost in nine months. I suppose I assumed that just because I did it before, it should happen the same way again, but obviously, it’s not.

Or, school. I started taking a certification course for Digital Marketing last August. Since it’s my first time to study and work at the same time, it wasn’t as easy to get my study habits back. I always remind myself that I won’t learn if I don’t put in the necessary hours to actually learn the things. It could be spending an entire Saturday in a classroom, missing some other things in the process. Staying a few more hours after work to attend a webinar. Allotting extra hours to go through the course material, and working on the assignment ahead of time. I often said when I started studying again that I thought I could go by just swimmingly and not put too much effort into things, like how I did some things in college (heh), but the first assignment totally took me by surprise and I realized that I can’t just wing this thing. I need to put in the work.

How about writing? Like I said last time, I’ve been stuck in a certain part of book #2 for a long time now, and it’s frustrating because I know what’s going to happen, but the feelings just weren’t there. It’s like I’m writing robots instead of characters with stories and feelings. And then I see some people who are coming out with books and I feel like they’re churning words like machines while I just keep on writing and rewriting the scenes that I was stuck in. Then there were so many things happening to other author friends and it’s all exciting, and then I’ll think: when will that happen to me, too?

And then, I remember that as with everything in life, writing and putting out books still requires hard work. From writing the first draft to the revising and editing, to sending it to the world and then thinking of ways to get people to notice your book and read it and talk about it. There’s no overnight success in this, and venturing into all of this meant I have to do the dirty work. It may look effortless to some (as I have sometimes fooled myself into thinking), but there were many things that happened behind the scenes for the show to look flawless.

So yes, hard work. I have to remind this to myself – especially recently – that nothing worth having ever comes easy. I forget this easily, because I have allowed myself to believe that I deserve things simply because I want them, and not because I worked hard for them.

I want to make a promise to myself this time, for the sake of all the things that I still want to accomplish before 2015 ends (and beyond) to never neglect hard work. I want to remember, and learn – and maybe sometimes even force myself – to sit down in front of my computer to write, to open my course notes to study, or to take those steps to the gym, because I believe that the things I want to accomplish is worth rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty. They should be, because if they’re not, then why am I even wasting my time reaching for them?

Let me end this post with wise words from HB:

All good things come tangled up with sacrifice of time and space and resources. You have to go out on a limb. You have to trust in the things bigger than yourself. Not everyone is going to understand your discipline but it’s going to be necessary for the race ahead. Stay focused. Keep your eyes forward.

(Image source: Desktop Sketching, Eric Heupel, Flickr)

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