Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965), American broadcast journalist.
The expression “work smart, not hard” is advice about efficiency by leveraging resources. It presumes that working smart leads to easier work. Efficiency and a lighter burden are always good goals as long as the easy way and hard way both lead to the same destination. The critical question when faced with an easy vs. hard choice is, “Do they really go to the same place?”
As human beings, the natural tendency is to pick the path of least resistance even when this is not expected to produce the best results. Always choosing easy over hard is based on near-term mindset. Instant gratification is an example that comes to mind. In the long run, we end up settling for far less in life if we make a habit of taking the easy path. Being one who is willing to consider and choose the more challenging path, whenever it makes long-term sense, requires a deep-seated commitment to the future.
“Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry, all things easy. He that rises late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night, while laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.” — Benjamin Franklin
“Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.” — Anonymous
Easy and Hard Can Be Matters of Perspective and Attitude
“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
“There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly.” — Terence (185 BC – 159 BC)
“Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult as if they were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other that it may not be dismayed.” — Baltasar Gracian
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill
Difficulties Help Sharpen Our Axes
“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” — Seneca (5 BC – 65 AD)
“All things are difficult before they are easy.” — Dr. Thomas Fuller (1654 – 1734)
“If at first you DO succeed, try something harder.” — John C. Maxwell
Facing Difficulty Requires Courage
“It is surmounting difficulties that makes heroes.” — Louis Pasteur, microbiologist
“Courage and perseverance have a magic talisman, before which difficulties and obstacles vanish into air.” — John Adams
“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” — Sam Ewing
Dealing With Difficulty
“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” — Dale Carnegie
“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.” — Phillips Brooks (1835 – 1893)
Finally, always remember the words of Edward R. Murrow:
“Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.”
© Copyright July 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com
What is the difference between a reason and an excuse? A reason is objective, rational, and generally truthful – an excuse is subjective, emotional, and usually deceptive. A reason can transform into an excuse when its purpose is to shift blame, to reassign responsibility, and/or to justify giving up. Excuses are conveniently used in place of the truth usually because the truth is embarrassing.
“It is easier to find an excuse than to find a reason.” — Doug Brown
My father did not tolerate excuses. To this day I can still here him say, “That’s a phony excuse.” To him, all excuses were “phony excuses” as if the two words were inseparable.
“He who excuses himself, accuses himself.” — Gabriel Meurier
When the first excuse failed, I usually followed up with my back-up excuse. It took me years to learn that just made things worse. To my dad, a second phony excuse was like telling a second lie to cover up the first one.
“Several excuses are always less convincing than one.” — Aldous Huxley
As a result of his fatherly intolerance, I probably made fewer excuses than I might otherwise have. Although, I must admit that I also learned to invent better excuses.
How can someone break the excuse habit? First, eliminate “Yah, but …” from their vocabulary. “Yah but, he started it.” “Yah but, I was tired.” “Yah but, it’s not my fault.” Instead, begin with, “My weak excuse is.” Imagine starting an excuse with these words and keeping a straight face. The second solution was inspired by my friend Andre. He further suggests making excuses irrelevant by focusing on something more important.
“My dream is bigger than my excuses.” — Andre Maronian
There are also words used to disguise an excuse. Words like “hard” and “impossible” were once part of my bag of tricks.
“Nothing is impossible; there are ways that lead to everything, and if we had sufficient will we should always have sufficient means. It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are impossible.” — Francois De La Rochefoucauld
“Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.” — Edward R. Murrow
“Destiny: A tyrant’s authority for crime and a fool’s excuse for failure.” — Ambrose Bierce
That’s enough of my personal history. Here are some instructional quotes about excuses.
“I attribute my success to this — I never gave or took any excuse.” — Florence Nightingale
“Excuses are tools of the incompetent, and those who specialize in them seldom go far.” — Unknown
“One of the lamest excuses for doing something wrong is: ‘I was just doing my job.’ A hit man is just doing his job. A prostitute is just doing her job.” — Thomas Sowell
“Every vice has its excuse ready.” — Publilius Syrus
“If you don’t want to do something, one excuse is as good as another.” — Yiddish Proverb
“For many people, an excuse is better than an achievement because an achievement, no matter how great, leaves you having to prove yourself again in the future; but an excuse can last for life.” — Eric Hoffer
“The trick is not how much pain you feel but how much joy you feel. Any idiot can feel pain. Life is full of excuses to feel pain, excuses not to live; excuses, excuses, excuses.” — Erica Jong
“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” — Art Turock
“Don’t look for excuses to lose. Look for excuses to win.” — Chi Chi Rodriguez
“Love will find a way. Indifference will find an excuse.” — Unknown
“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” — Benjamin Franklin
“Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” — George Washington Carver
© Copyright June 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com