No. 1101



As I begin to share my thoughts for this installment, please allow me to make an honest confession. If it is something I love to do and can do well, I love to work. Honest work brings more rewards than practically anything else because this has a way of defining who we are as a person. Several years ago, I was beginning a “How To Plan Your Life” seminar at the Jacksonville (AR) High School. Talking with the Principal, Bobby Lester, he said something to me that I have never forgotten. He said, “We don’t outsmart people, we outwork them.”
Apparently this philosophy worked for Bobby, as he went on to become the superintendent of the entire Pulaski County School System, the largest in our state. He also held Superintendent of Schools positions in several other Arkansas communities. These thoughts lead me to a quote I ran across a while back by Henry Ford that has ramifications for all of us, especially the lazy and ne’er-do-well who are shiftless and irresponsible. He said, “Nobody can think straight who does not work. Idleness warps the mind. Thinking without constructive action becomes a disease.”
While I don’t know about you, that quote speaks volumes to me. When you think about a person being idle or lazy, and it actually becoming a disease, you can better understand some of the problems we have regarding mental illness. While I am not a doctor and do not want to be accused of practicing medicine, I can better understand why some people wind up sleeping under bridges and being down on their luck. My heart goes out to these people because they missed the boat somewhere in their upbringing. Of course, I am talking about those who are mentally and physically able to work, but are just habitually lazy.
But the other side of the coin is so much more rewarding. Suffice it so say, as I have talked about many times in this column, we are creatures of habit. If we get in the habit of thinking we can do something -- like get a good job -- the odds are in our favor that we will. Here is something I ran across in my files a while back that says it better than I can: “Somebody said that it couldn’t be done, but he with a chuckle, replied, that maybe it couldn’t, but he would be one who wouldn’t say so till he tried. So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin, on his face, if he worried he hid it. And he started to sing as he tackled the thing – that couldn’t be done and he did it.”
While we have millions of people in America today who are unemployed or underemployed, we also have thousands and thousands of jobs that go unfilled; most are low-paying and the unemployed can draw more from government handouts than they can earn from working. What most of these people do not know, or believe, is the truth of what Henry Ford’s quote was saying, “Nobody can think straight who does not work. Idleness warps the mind. Thinking without constructive action becomes a disease.”
Those of us who love to work and pay taxes are praying that our economy will improve and give the unemployed the incentive to get off the dole, and that prosperity will be for everyone and not just those who are skilled and highly educated. The secret to success has always been to be willing to start at or near the bottom and work our way up to the top, or at least far better than where we started.
(Editor’s Note: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)