Why do we wait for the New Year for “new resolutions,” when in reality most of those goals are just old resolutions resurrected under a different time and title? Why don’t more of us resolve to fix our work, health and financial habits right now when we are feeling the pain? In fact, why not resolve today to adjust just one habit that can improve your relationships or increase your sales or grow company profits? Because just being engaged in the right activity consistently brings rewards. Let me provide a couple of illustrations.
In a cause I have worked with for years, one of our sales reps I’ll call Bob shared with me an experience he had while cold calling on businesses for support. During a drop in call, a customer of that business after hearing his introduction walked up to Bob and warmly said, “its good to see you out beating the streets. I used to be a supporter of your organization before I retired and I want to support you again.” He then pulled out his checkbook without another word and wrote him a decent sized check. You see, he wanted to reward effort, diligence and important work. Now, if Bob hadn’t maintained the daily habit of being out in the field he would have missed that “easy” sale.
For the next example, I turn to the author Ayn Rand. In her controversial book Atlas Shrugged, she creates a scene which emphasizes the merit of dedicated work. The scene is set at a party where a wealthy industrialist responds to an intellectual who proclaimed that, “money is the root of all evil:”
“…So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. … Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?
“When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. [Money is],…, a token of honor—your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money…
To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return…”
Thomas Jefferson put it this way, “It is not to the moderation and justice of others we are to trust for fair and equal access to market our productions… but our own means of independence, and the firm will to use them.”
So what does all this have to do with resolutions? Well, I believe most resolutions stem from a desire to be happier. One thing that keeps us from enjoying happiness is a lack of resolve to get engaged in meaningful work and worthwhile goals. Unfortunately, society has allowed “moochers and looters,” as Ayn Rand puts it, to manipulate the supply and flow of money to reward special interest as opposed to value added. The more we allow this the more it affects our ability to produce fairly and enjoy wider happiness. This goes for the welfare recipient who is fully capable of working to the politician who uses his position to get something for nothing. Happiness won’t be found that way and society certainly has no value added in both cases. As more people buy into this “something for nothing mentality” economies slow. Individuals then become fearful and hold on tightly to the few remaining dollars and freedom for all diminishes.
So the next time you decide to skip making your daily sales calls, or stay in bed, or avoid work or that uncomfortable conversation you must have with an associate, or skip breakfast, or burn up your savings, or stop investing, or watch TV instead of reading that book or listen to the tabloid talk shows instead of personal development audios or stay up late playing video games instead of taking your wife on a date or whatever productive task we drop because idleness is easier, resolve to look squarely at the habits that lead to the results you know down deep that you want and ask, am “I willing to make my resolution now to produce?” In other words, will you put forth an effort that is worthy of the honest trade of another man’s money. Because when you do, that willing exchange will not only make you wealthy and free, but your nation as well. And that can only happen now not on January 1st!