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The Zero Talent Series: Effort (Going the extra mile)

“Mr. Schwab first came to Mr.Carnegie’s attention when he was working as a labourer in one of the steel master’s plants. Close observation revealed that Mr. Schwab always performed more and better service than that for which he was paid. Moreover, he performed it with a pleasing mental attitude, which made him popular among his fellow workers.

He was promoted from one job to another until at long last in 1901 he was made president of the great United States Steel Corporation at a salary of $75,000 a year”. Who would have thought a labourer will ever earn that much in his entire lifetime. (story by Napoleon Hill)

If Paul J. Meyer’s quote expressed thus, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort” is anything to go by, then effort is worthy of the number 3 spot on our zero talent list.

To put in effort is to vigorously or determinedly attempt something. An attempt doesn’t require a talent, does it?

“No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction”. – Charles Francis Adams

You may not have total control over outcomes and results but you have complete control over the amount and type of effort you put in. Success comes to those who sustain a consistent effort.

If you really want to excel at work and in business, you will have to go the extra mile and deliver beyond expectations. In service delivery, going the extra mile is what distinguishes a great customer experience from an average one.

It is true there are days you won’t feel like going the extra mile but remember that you are not your thoughts or feelings. Feelings come and go. We tend to associate our thoughts with our abilities and we try to identify with them. Consequently, negative thoughts make us feel inadequate.

Finally, going the extra mile builds the confidence of others in one’s veracity. It eliminates procrastination and develops definiteness of purpose.


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