Strong Work Ethics: The Cornerstone Of A Successful Life

Your work ethics spill into every dimension of your life. Learn why it's so important to have strong work ethics, and how to develop them

Do you think you don’t need to put work into your relationship, your avocations, your practices? Do you think you’ll just heal and be the best version of yourself without putting in the hard yards?

Everything rewarding in life takes work, in some form or another. By developing a strong work ethic, you’re going to do a lot more in all areas of your life, which leads to more skills, abilities, and competence.

Here’s why.

Why are strong work ethics important?

Strong work ethic

Most people associate work ethics with the amount of work you put into your job, but there’s much more to it. Although your job is one setting where work is necessary, everything in life requires work.

Your avocations won’t create themselves. That book won’t write itself. Your social skills won’t develop themselves. In this sense, your work ethic involves how much effort you put into anything you do, from working on your relationship to climbing the corporate ladder.

This is the angle you should approach work ethic:

Labor is currency. Effort translates into skills, abilities, knowledge, and wisdom that can serve any endeavor in your life. Your life is a product of your work ethic because any milestone requires work in one form or another to get there.

Someone with a strong work ethic applies himself and gives a duty of care to everything he does. He will leverage his knowledge and skills to become more efficient, more effective, and less dispensable. If you want to be good at anything in life, effort is required to become good.

As with anything in life, the result you’re looking for fruits from the quality and quantity of work you put into it. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but it won’t amount to anything unless you incorporate that knowledge into your work.

Your energy is an investment

To develop a strong work ethic you need to see the value in working hard for what you want. Whatever you’re working towards needs to be a worthy trade-off in your eyes, otherwise, you won’t put in the effort.

All the effort you expend comes back to you in some form. If you devote a lot of time to studies, the energy you expend transmutes into knowledge. If you exert energy into strengthening a relationship, the work put in results in a healthier and more fulfilling connection.

I would still have a stagnant dating life if I never put the effort into learning how to date. I would still be depressed if I never put the work into healing myself. I would have never backpacked the world if I didn’t work on my insecurities.

Trading time for material gain may not always weigh up. However, if you think about what you can learn through your work or the skills you can develop, there is always a tradeoff. Instead of expecting an instant trade-off, see what intrinsic qualities you can gain by adopting a growth mindset

At the end of the day, it all comes back to you.

You can keep blaming the world for your life, but nothing’s going to change if you don’t put in the work to change it. So perhaps it’s time to look at the root cause of why you’re not living the life you want to live, and working on it.

Strong work ethic characteristics

Let’s look at some common characteristics of people who have a strong work ethic. The following characteristics will aid your work ethic, and help you propel forward with everything you do.

  • Responsibility. Be accountable for everything that happens in your life.
  • Discipline. Stick with your goals and avocations.
  • Taking initiative. Don’t just follow what other people do. Actively look for new ways to learn, improve, and develop yourself.
  • Consistency. Keep chipping away at what you’re trying to achieve.
  • Willingness to grow. Always look for new opportunities to grow as a person and develop your skillsets. There’s essentially an infinite amount of information out there that you can access, so start using it.
  • Perseverance. Things will get difficult at times. Push yourself and put your all into it.
  • Professionalism. Hold your work to a standard of care, and do it properly.
  • Adaptability. Be creative and find ways around the obstacles you’re confronted with.
  • Capability. Make yourself as capable as you can.
  • Efficiency. Find ways to do things quicker, better, and with less effort.
  • Attention to detail. You need to pay attention to all the bits and pieces, and all the moving parts.

Developing strong work ethics

The work ethic of a bee

If you want to achieve a particular goal, job, or lifestyle, you first need to gain the skills necessary to pursue it. Instead of complaining about how you’re trapped, utilize your resources to become as competent as you can be.

If you have no passion, motivation, or excitement for something, naturally, you are not going to exert much energy into it. This translates into a poor work ethic and means you won’t become more competent in that arena, or grow as much through the process.

You can’t expect to get the best job in a field without becoming the best potential candidate. We live in a proactive society that rewards hard work and initiative, yet so many people fall victim to the mentality of scraping by.

With a poor work ethic, many people aim to achieve nothing for their personal development. These are usually the people you see stuck in the same jobs year after year because they aren’t putting in any work to advance their lives.

Define your values

If you want to do something well, you need to have some sort of passion for it.

You’re probably not going to put all your energy into something that doesn’t bring you joy, or excitement, so this is where refining your values is important.

Are you just doing it for the money or perhaps some form of temporary satisfaction, or are you seeking something deeper? Dig into why you’re doing what you’re doing, and what’s your motivation behind it.

If you think about how you want to provide for your family, create a new lifestyle, your own fulfilling business that helps other people, or perhaps travel the world where some savings are a gateway to do that, this motivation is going to fuel you to work harder.

Therefore, keep the deeper reasoning in your mind. If you don’t have any, you should probably ask yourself why you’re doing it in the first place.

Set goals

Goals help you stay on track. Without them, everything tends to fall apart. Therefore, it’s good to have goals to help you get to the finish line. Before you create goals, whether you’re with your job, relationship, avocations, or personal development aspirations in general, here are some things to consider.

They need to be realistic. You need to make your goals realistic and achievable, like you’re climbing a staircase, not taking the magical elevator.

They need to be time-sensitive. You should space out your goals with appropriate time to ensure you can complete them.

You need to stick to them. If you don’t follow through with your goals, your staircase for development is going to break away.

Build upon your skillsets

Having a plethora of skills gives you a big advantage in life, and the route to developing new skills is to practice them. Luckily, there are always new skills you can acquire, regardless of what you’re doing. You just need to think about how you can leverage your current situation to learn them.

If you work in sales, build on skills like conversation, building rapport, influencing, and being charismatic. If you work in customer service, build your skills in conversation, social etiquette, and business management.

Get creative and seek out new and better ways of doing things. Understand that you can achieve anything you want by building up the relevant skill sets to succeed.

Build your knowledge base

Work ethic is just half the equation. You need knowledge to work with. The more you have, the better your work becomes.

Therefore, you should actively seek out knowledge.

I recommend taking courses, watching videos, and reading up on the topic. Go to workshops and participate in events that can help hone your skills and abilities.

Even if you are doing something that you don’t enjoy, pick out aspects that you do like. Associate a strong work ethic with growth and capability, and there is no limit to how much you can learn from it.

Assume responsibility

Back in the day I generally performed poorly for several reasons. One of those reasons was because I didn’t help others out and just stayed within the confines of my job role.

As my work ethic got better over time, I started expanding out from my roles taking on more responsibilities.

When I was working as a bartender in the United States, even though I focused on that particular role, I took responsibility for the entire venue. I also worked as a barista, a server, and a host, took stock, helped the kitchen, and did things that were not my duties.

As I could do the jobs of 3 or 4 people, it helped me thrive in that workplace, build connections, and become a much stronger employee.

So don’t just stay in the confines of your role. Assume more responsibility, and you will grow within that role very quickly.

Seek feedback

People are generally happy to give you advice or feedback, so take advantage of it. People are great resources to learn and grow, so if you want to develop a strong work ethic, seek feedback when you can.

Ask your coworkers or boss how you can improve, or what you can do to help out more. If you’re noticing a decline in your romantic relationship, ask your partner what you can do to improve it.

Look for people who have been in the game for longer and seek advice for your avocations. Maybe you want to get better at guitar, become a better writer, or be a more efficient business owner. Ask people who have more experience than you and learn from them.

Soak up all that valuable feedback from people who know more than you, and you’ll be on your best game before you know it.

Stop procrastinating

How often do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, and wondering why you’re doing it in the first place?

Looking at other people who pretend to have their lives together doesn’t provide much satisfaction, but if you’re like most of us, you continuously find yourself reaching for your phone and entering the addictive cycle of hell.

Just imagine if you put that time into something meaningful.

If you want to cultivate a strong work ethic, start being conscious of the time you put into things that don’t serve you. Sure, a little bit here and there to break up the time is okay, but it’s a problem when it becomes a compulsion.

Focus your energy on things that provide a deeper sense of fulfillment. Put it into things that you can go to bed happy thinking ‘I did something good for myself today’.

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