I have worked my fair share of tough jobs. One of the toughest was working for a concrete company using Simon’s forms. I had to carry these forms up and down the steep slopes of the Rocky Mountains in and around Aspen, Colorado. I was a college wrestler at the time and in the best condition of my life, yet still found that work tough.
Another tough line of work was doing drywall. This was especially tough when we needed to drywall the lid (ceiling). Often times we didn’t use a mechanical lift and had to hold the drywall up with our arms and even heads. But my least thing to do when drywalling was stock the building with the sheets. We often used twelve-foot sheets and would have to carry them up stairs, fit them through windows, maneuver through hallways and tight spaces throughout the course of an entire day.
Obviously those are my experiences. There are other jobs or lines of work much tougher; take your pick. But, what I recently realized is the toughest work a person will ever undertake is something that lasts a lifetime. Despite the grueling and often agonizing strain this work can place upon a person, its rewards when successfully accomplished are immeasurable. The principles of this work are simple, yet their application can at times seem impossible. Ironically, no success in life can be achieved without applying effort to this work. And very few people are truly successful because very few people are willing to pay the price.
What work am I speaking of? I am speaking of change; and more specifically, personal change. This very blog has been inspired by an argument I had with my wife. After some dialogue transpired I got offended over basically nothing and quickly realized the error of my ways. Something I’ve noticed in my personality is that I can get offended pretty easily over some petty things within my marriage. It is something I’ve been “working” on for a while. Yet, too often I fail the test. After this incident I literally said out loud to myself with a certain level of frustration, “When are you going to change?” Then I began to ask the better question of how.
The answer to how I am going to change is lined out in one sentence in the book of Romans chapter 12. “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” So, I will read more books on the subject, listen to more CDs on the subject, and pray more about this subject. I will associate with people who have the same desire to live intentionally for excellence and finally apply what I am learning to each situation that arises.
I may fail 9 times out of 10 at first. But if I don’t get discouraged and continue to genuinely seek information and understanding from those with “fruit on the tree of change”, then I may fail only 8 times out of 10. Eventually I will have a 50% success rate moving on to 90% and above. I don’t know if I can ever achieve perfection but I will endeavor to do so. And even if I do win perfect mastery in this area, I will still need to be working on many other areas of my life.
This is the toughest work a person will ever do. Is it physically tough? No, well, unless you are like someone I know who punched a wall in anger and broke his hand. But in general, the part that is so difficult is changing the way we think and respond to situations. All change, and let me re-emphasize, ALL CHANGE comes through changing the way we think. If we are struggling in our marriage, perhaps our thinking about marriage is wrong. Or maybe our communication is causing conflict. Then our thinking about communication must change. Maybe we don’t think we need to change and the other person does. Let me be blunt. That is wrong thinking. And so it goes in every facet of life – faith, family, finances, health, freedom, relationships, business, etc.
Ultimately, if a person wants to be successful in any aspect of his or her life, he or she must change. We must learn, grow, stretch, get uncomfortable, adjust, be strengthened, develop courage, character, and proper thinking. We must change. It’s not easy. The concept is simple, but it is not easy. As Orrin Woodward says concerning the LIFE business which is entirely about changing our lives, “I don’t guarantee easy, but I do guarantee worth it.”
When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser and realized the world would not change I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country: but it too seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years I settled on changing only my family and those closest to me, but alas they would have none of it. Now as I lay on my deathbed and I suddenly realize that if I had only changed myself first, then by example I could perhaps have changed my family, and from their inspiration and encouragement to me I would have been better able to help my country and from there I may even have been able to change the world. (Taken from the tomb of a Bishop in Westminster Abbey 1100 A.D).