Developing Your Work Ethics: Investing Energy Into Development

Learn how to develop strong work ethics, and why they're necessary to achieve the life you desire

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. So 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.

Work Ethics: The path to your dreams

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As with anything in life, the result you’re looking for only comes when you work hard for it.

I would still have a stagnant dating life if I never put the effort into learning and practicing. I would still be empty and 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.

Do you think any of that was easy?

Hell no.

The path of personal growth has been an absolute struggle, but I can’t express how big the payoff is if you put in the work.

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 actually working on it.

Real-life change starts with your work ethic.

So let’s really get into it and turn this ship around.

What are strong work ethics?

Most people associate work ethics with a job or career, but it’s so much more expansive than that.  The reason I say this is because your work ethic is really about how much effort you put into anything you do.

Effort translates into practice, knowledge, skill, competence, and efficiency.

Your work ethic is about your attitude towards putting in effort, and how hard you work for the life you want to create for yourself.

Someone with a strong work ethic works hard, does well, and typically goes above and beyond. Someone with a poor work ethic just does the minimum and doesn’t push themselves to get shit done or see the value in doing so. The results speak for themselves.

Your energy is an investment

Think of it in a way where your effort is an investment towards your dreams. You trade your time and energy for personal gain. Unless you keep chipping away at what you’re trying to achieve and put in some hard yards, you’re never going to get ahead with anything in your life.

To build a strong work ethic, you need to see the value in doing so. 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 detoxifying a relationship, this will result in a healthier and more fulfilling connection. There are always benefits to putting in your all, despite what it is.

Instead of expecting an instant trade-off of time for money, see what you can gain in different forms. Many people only work to make money and don’t look beyond it. When you think this way, it is easy to do the bare minimum, and you forfeit a lot of benefits yourself.

If you see it in a way that your work ethic also helps you develop yourself inside and out, you’re going to see more value in it and begin cultivating a better mentality towards trading energy for development.

The benefits of strong work ethics

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Strong work ethics involve a set of principles that guide your behavior, work habits, and decision-making process. In the workplace, having a strong work ethic can help you to stand out as a reliable and dedicated employee, earn the trust and respect of your colleagues, and increase your chances of career advancement.

Outside of work, a strong work ethic can help you build meaningful relationships, achieve personal goals, and develop a strong sense of self-worth and satisfaction with life. Below are some areas of your life where strong a work ethic will really benefit you.

The Importance of Strong Work Ethics in Personal Life

Strong work ethics go beyond the workplace and can positively impact your personal life. They help to build character, integrity, and self-discipline. Besides all that good stuff, you ultimately become a better person, inside and out when you put in the energy.

For example, if you value punctuality, you will always be on time for appointments, which shows respect for other people’s time. If you value responsibility, you will be accountable for your actions and take ownership of your mistakes. Lots of great learning opportunities there. If you value perseverance, you will be more resilient in the face of challenges and setbacks.

Having a strong work ethic in your personal life can also help you build better relationships with family, friends, and loved ones. When you uphold values such as honesty and integrity, you earn the trust and respect of others.

This can lead to deeper and more meaningful connections that last a lifetime. So focus on where you put your energy, and use it wisely.

The Importance of Strong Work Ethics in Professional Life

In the workplace, having a strong work ethic is vital for success. Do you think your boss wants you moping around and wasting his time? When you have a strong work ethic, you stand out as a hard worker and trustworthy employee.

By consistently delivering high-quality work, meeting deadlines, and upholding ethical standards, you earn the trust and respect of your colleagues, clients, and customers which can lead to many great things.

Strong work ethics also help to create a positive work environment. When everyone shares the same values, there’s much more cohesion in the workplace and a sense of camaraderie among the team. Don’t be the person who lets everyone down. Be an example to pull others up.

How Strong Work Ethics Can Positively Impact Your Personal Relationships

Strong work ethics can positively impact your personal relationships by helping you to build trust, respect, and empathy with others. When you have a strong work ethic, you are more likely to be honest, reliable, and accountable for your actions. This creates a sense of trust and respect with others, which can lead to happier relationships.

When you value responsibility, you are more likely to see things from other people’s perspectives and take their needs into account. When you value honesty, you are more likely to be transparent and open with others, which can lead to better communication and problem-solving.

Examples of strong work ethics

  • Responsibility. Be accountable for everything that happens in your life. Get out of the victimhood mentality and start taking responsibility for your life
  • Discipline. Stick with your goals and avocations. Nothing good is ever achieved without having a little discipline.
  • 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. Without consistency, the learning curve is going to look a little flat.
  • 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. Welcome to the human condition, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Push yourself and put your all into it.
  • Professionalism. Play the part that you want to become. Even if you’re a casual person, there’s always a time and place for some professionalism.
  • Adaptability. Be creative and find ways around the obstacles you’re confronted with. Developing your life isn’t as linear as some people make it out to be.
  • Capability. Make yourself as capable as you can, so you can control every aspect of yourself without relying on others.
  • Efficiency. Find ways to do things quicker, better, and with less effort. Time is a valuable resource, so do what you can to save it.
  • Attention to detail. You need to pay attention to all the bits and pieces, and all the moving parts. Nobody is going to hold a billboard in front of you telling you exactly what you need to do.

How to develop and maintain strong work ethics


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 own 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 own personal development. These are usually the people you see stuck in the same shitty jobs year after year because they aren’t putting in any work to advance their lives.

To develop a strong work ethic, you must first learn to cultivate the mindset of growth. See what you can gain out of doing more than the bare minimum. Depending on what you’re doing, it might seem like there’s not a lot of opportunity for growth, but the potential yield is limitless.

To learn more about the growth mentality, follow this link.

Define your values and hold them close

The truth is that if you want to do something well, you really 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.

So think about what you’re really looking for out of life. Are you just after some shiny playthings that give you temporary satisfaction, or are you seeking something a little deeper? Really dig into why you’re doing what you’re doing, and what’s your motivation behind it.

If your reasoning is ‘money’, then you might find yourself burning out quite quickly. But 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.

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 to keep you on track

Goals help you stay on track and remain motivated. Without them, everything sorta just falls apart into a sloppy mess. You don’t want that, so it’s good to have both short and long-term goals to help you get to the finish line. But before you make 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. Yep, if you’re shooting for the moon, I hate to dampen that spirit, but you’re not going to hit it. 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. Time is the ultimate currency. You should space out your goals with appropriate time to ensure you can actually complete them.

You need to stick to them. If you don’t actually follow through with your goals, your staircase for development is going to fall apart pretty quickly.

To read a more detailed article about setting goals and sticking with them, James Clear has some valuable insight which you can find here.

Always strive to build upon your skill sets

You can improve your skill sets in any given area depending on what you’re doing, and this will give you the best possible advantage. And the route to do that is to practice, lots! Get out of your comfort zone and push yourself every day to improve your abilities.

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, business management, operations, and so forth. Learn more about what you sell, or where it’s sourced.

Work on your relationships with your coworkers and bosses, get creative, and seek out new and better ways of doing things. Understand that you can achieve anything you want to do by building up the relevant skill sets to succeed.

Honestly, why can’t you? Work on forming the mentality that with everything you do, you will be the best out of everyone who does it. People will start to recognize this trait, and they will see you as a highly skilled and sought-after worker.

When you push your boundaries to your maximum limits, you increase your maximum capabilities.

Always aim to build upon your knowledge

Everything you do requires knowledge, and there’s usually an infinite depth of it to learn. That’s why you should always do more than what is necessary to build your 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.

You get to know so much more about so many different things, which serve your best interests. Try to look at your own work ethic through a third-person perspective, and take into account how much you take into account.

To build upon this mentality, be present in every activity you partake in. Be mindful about everything around you, even when you’re doing something you hate. Instead of constantly multitasking, devote your complete attention to everything you do.

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.

To learn how to gain more information from everything you do, go to this article.

Always assume responsibility for what happens

Back in the day I lost jobs and generally performed poorly for a number of reasons. One was that 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, and becoming a jack of many trades.

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.

I’m always working on this website when I get a chance, teaching English on the side, writing, designing, changing things, and implementing ideas. Without this desire to excel, I wouldn’t be anything by this point, because I wouldn’t have felt a responsibility to do it.

Always look for feedback to improve yourself

People are awesome resources for information, especially when you’ve screwed up. People are generally very happy to give you some advice or feedback, so don’t let that opportunity slip away!

If you’re in the workplace, ask your coworkers or boss how you can improve, or what you can do to help out more. If things are going limp with your partner, ask them what you can do to fire it up, to avoid arguing so much, and to make them feel more appreciated.

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 give you any satisfaction, but you continuously find yourself reaching for your phone and entering the same cycle of hell.

Just imagine if you put that time and energy into something meaningful. Something that you actually enjoy, and moving the needle on some aspect of your life.

Welcome to Procrastination 101, a devious habit that you really want to avoid. If you want to cultivate a strong work ethic, start being conscious of the time you put into things that really don’t serve you. Sure, a little bit here and there to break up the time is okay, but when it becomes a compulsion, then it’s a problem.

So 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 actually did something good for myself today’.

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