Many are familiar with Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet many are unaware of this quote of his:[h=1]“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as 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.”[/h]
I work hard. Harder, longer and quite honestly better than most men. I often wonder why.
I have worked in corrections, and have a good understanding of human nature. My training in sociology tells me that most people respond to some form of reward or punishment. And most do.
Yet, some transcend this simple paradigm. We are drawn to the examples of titans of industry, political leaders and intellectual giants. For most, their reward is obvious. What of the rest of us?
Napoleon Bonaparte once said:
A man does not have himself killed for a half-pence a day or for a petty distinction. You must speak to the soul in order to electrify him.
So I ask, what speaks to your soul? What electrifies you?
I submit that there is more than success and failure. Riches or poverty. Titles, advancement...
Before you beat yourself up because you haven't written enough today. Because your manuscript remains unedited. Because no agent will market your story...
Stop. Close your eyes, and listen.
Besides punishment and reward, why do you do what you do? Do you need the positive reenforcement of someone? Do you fear the perception of failure? Or is there more there?
I know why I always give my best. Do you?