Jose Antonio Cangco

For work. Yup, that's correct. I have compiled ten nice quotations to get you started in your task, to be able to finish it, and enjoy while doing it. The first person who says that these quotations won't apply to him because he's unemployed is out of the game. The Philippines would not be at tail's end of developing and emerging nations if Filipinos had just thought more of their work and love what it is that they were doing. As found out in a SWS survey, the average family income dropped a whooping ten percent since 2000. More Filipino households now consider themselves poor. With so bleak a situation, Mr. Juan dela Cruz could either wait for the guava to fall into his open mouth or start conditioning his body and mind to alleviate his poverty. The initial step is to go burn rubber and look for work.

Work here means any honest and productive endeavor to bring in some tangible reward. So, here are ten quotations to put you in the mood for work:

1. To bring one's self to a frame of mind and to the proper energy to accomplish things that require plain hard work continuously is the one big battle that everyone has. When this battle is won for all time, then everything is easy. - Thomas A. Buckner

This is the first step when embarking on and starting a task. The person must have composed himself and have a mind set to get ready to tackle any hurdle that he will meet in his journey. If, still lying on a soft sofa or sitting comfortably on a lounging chair imagining all the opposition and efforts he has to expend to look for work, then nothing will be accomplished. Juan Tamad, the eternal lazy bones, needs this very much.

2. Through our works, find righteous or unrighteous judgment, this at least is ours, to make them righteous.- Algernon Charles Swinburne

Accordingly, it is not enough to work and earn a living. It should be an honest endeavor and through it we are to practice fairness, using our conscience and judgment. If we find something wrong in our jobs it is our duty and obligation to correct it.

3. Let us realize that the privilege to work is a gift, that power to work is a blessing, that love of work is success. - David O. McKay

He said it all. Here, we should be thankful to be able to work. "Able" is a very strong word because not all people can work as much as they would like to.

My friend and I were selling ice crystal refreshing drinks during the graduation ceremonies of a public high school. I met a vendor who was stricken with polio. In spite of his handicap, he was driving a scooter which he got on installment basis, attached a sidewagon, and sold street foods and drinks. What was amazing was that he went around in different schools and market places following a rigid schedule where to sell at different times of the day. He certainly looked more prosperous than the healthy, not physically challenged vendors around him.

I am sure that persons with physical handicaps would give all to overcome their disability to be able to work like the rest of the population. To be able to work therefore is a boon and not a curse; it is a small trade-off for one's good health and a small price to pay for peace of mind.

4. You can always find reasons to work. There will always be one more thing to do. But when people don't take time out, they stop being productive. They stop being happy, and that affects the morale of everyone around them. - Carisa Bianchi

This is one complaint which we hear often from the young people of today: "I'm bored, there's nothing to do around here". This is also echoed by some older people who should know better. "I don't have anything to do, there's no work". There are two parts in this quotation actually; the first is exhorting each of us to get dirt on our hands and the other is telling us to take a break from our work. True, once in a while, we should stand back and assess our progress. We shall know our mistakes when we have distanced ourselves from our task. When we shall have relaxed, we can put renewed energy into our task.

5. It is one of the strange ironies of this strange life [that] those who work the hardest, who subject themselves to the strictest discipline, who give up certain pleasurable things in order to achieve a goal, are the happiest people. - Brutus Hamilton

This quotation is saying in effect that if a man sets himself a goal and works toward it, then he will be happy. This is so because he will be focused on his job. This also talks about foregoing and sacrificing the present which for those who have not done any real work in their whole life is inconceivable. They can not understand how hard work can make a man happy, satisfied and fulfilled. When a man is concentrated on his task there is what Thomas Carlyle calls harmony between the task and the soul.

This about fits the description of the workaholic; he's not the man seen on tv ads who works hard and plays hard. The real workaholic works hard. Period. When he engages in sports and hobbies, he does not give them the same amount of value, importance, and concentration as his does with his work. This is best illustrated by a cartoon I saw in the Reader's Digest many years ago. A tycoon was with his family at the beach. His two kids were building a sandcastle and playing with a beach ball. The wife, lying on a beach towel and holding a book was looking incredulously at her husband; he was sitting on a chair behind a big office desk sculptured out of sand, surrounded by imaginary work. He said, "I'm enjoying, I'm enjoying".

6. No other technique for the conduct of life attaches the individual so firmly to reality as laying emphasis on work; for his work at least gives him a secure place in a portion of reality, in the human community. - Sigmund Freud

This is from the man himself who taught that motivation derived from sexuality and any repressed desires went into the subconscious to come out as dreams. Of course, he had forgotten the role which the spirit plays in the life of humans; but when it's about dealing with reality versus fantasies and illusion, there is no other and better activity than to be engrossed in one's work. He is saying in a way that a diligent person is accepted and respected in his community. The work he is doing will bind him to the real, true to life situations and environments, not to a make believe world where he is master and king.

7. Work is the grand cure of all the maladies and miseries that ever beset mankind. - Thomas Carlyle.

This is what I have been talking all about. Work, or having the right attitude towards work or learning to work is the medicine of the individual and society. In a community where everybody is busy and responsible, expect that output is enough and substantial, morale is high, and peace and order is great. It will take a lot of effort and some time to achieve every leader's dream of full employment levels, but for members of the community to be involved in gainful employment and industry, this alone will bring about prosperity and alleviate living conditions from poverty.

It is also scientifically and medically accepted that doing something creative or loving one's work is an analgesic, stimulant and relaxant to some physical and psychological sicknesses. How many people do you know who were very much active and productive during their younger years when they had been employed, but drastically declined ending as imbeciles after they had retired? After my mother had retired as a government physician, she became very active in church and community work. When I went home to the province and visited her one time, I was surprised to see her adding a long market list, going over the figures and prices, using pen and paper. I offered to get her a calculator. She said, "I'm adding these manually to exercise my mind". She is one proof of my belief that the body and mind are two different things; the body may deteriorate, but the mind can still be alert, creative and active.

8. I have never known a man who died from overwork, but many who died from doubt. - Charles Horace Mayo

Yep. It's the negative emotions all right that sends a person faster to the grave than he can lift a finger to turn the pages of a work manual. This is a saying with a hidden meaning because for those who cannot understand what hard work is all about, they don't want to take the risk. Diligent and industrious workers don't die from hard work and worries; it's those who doubt the wisdom of starting a task and completing it till the end who give up because of stress and worry. After some time, hard work isn't a heavy burden anymore; it becomes a routine and even enjoyable. Again this is one thing we should be thankful for - if there is work we can bring home the bacon. Incidentally, hard work also instills in us discipline.

9. People have been known to achieve more as a result of working with others than against them. - Dr. Allan Fromme

This saying is true ever since man decided to form groups and live in communities. The animal kingdom is not very different from the human community when it comes to cooperation - a pride of lions, a colony of ants accomplish more in terms of security and food hunting and gathering when they work together.

The reason our bureaucracy is not running smoothly and turns very slowly are the presence of various detractors and pessimists who are outright against a proposition or activity because "being in the opposition, it is their duty to oppose". They have to say something negative first before exerting effort to see the benefit that will accrue from a program. Personally, I was opposed to the government's giving out food stamps because I am against dole outs but if this is just a temporary measure for the poorest of the poor, who are starving and living from one day to the next, then I don't have any qualms about the program. Anyway, one cannot go out and search for work with an empty stomach.

I have observed too that people who frequently are opposing the common sentiments and detracts the smooth rolling of processes are usually not originators and not very creative. They don't have the ability to build; they just take the easy way to fame and stardom and that is to destroy what has been built by others. Pity them, they are the footnotes of history as the bad and the uglies.

10. There is no substitute for hard work. - Thomas Edison

This is a quotation from a famous inventor and hard worker himself. Many would make the mistake that Edison was always beaming with inspiration in his line of work. It is not only in scientific discoveries and inventions however that hard work is needed; it is a requirement in everything that we undertake. I was able to know this later in my line of work after accomplishing a particularly hard task. While in the process of performing it, I had felt almost defeated and the burden of failure was hanging over me. I never gave up, and when I finally completed the task, I agreed characteristically that there is no substitute for hard work. Obligated to be a practitioner of this method, I have my own version of this quotation: "There is no shortcut for hard work".

Bonus sayings

Now you have ten quotations to put you in the mood for work and hopefully to carry you onward to success. Here are two bonus sayings I first heard from my mother... to make your work lighter, and if you fail, have nobody to blame but yourself!

It's strange but my mother never told me to be an industrious worker. She only encouraged me to study hard during my elementary years where I graduated head of the class. Yet, she was a workaholic, raising her five children alone. So, here are two sayings my mother told me before I was ten.

11. If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well. - Anonymous

My mother said this when I finished doing my homework. I remember hastily wrapping it up to finish it and go read comic books. I thought it was good enough for a few minutes worth of effort; my mother thought otherwise.

Notice, too, that "thing" is used instead of job. This is to make it more presentable because a "job" is deplorable for some of us. Probably it becomes a work of excellence when it is presented in a way that is appealing and turns out to be fun. There is a big difference between perfection and excellence. We can strive to excel in our line of work and in almost at anything we do; it is when we give our best. Perfection is a dream. It is absolute and we can not always achieve this in our work.

12. If you want a thing well done, do it yourself. - Anonymous

This is very much similar with the first saying, that the doer should try to excel in the task assigned to him. If you let somebody else do something for you, be prepared to accept the results; if you are not happy with the outcome, either you have to do it yourself, or find another person to do it, and if you didn't give clear instructions as to what you had expected it to be, don't fret. In constructing a house, for example, you can not be expected to take hammer and saw and start hammering around if you don't like the way the structure is being built. What you can do is talk with the foreman or architect and outline in clearer details what results you want. If they don't understand what you want, you can replace them with persons more sympathetic to your needs. The point is don't expect satisfying results if you have not contributed any inputs toward the task.

After having read these inspiring quotations and sayings, there is no reason for you now not to start writing your "things to do list". There still remains a lot of things to be done, waiting for you.

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