“The expectations of life depend upon diligence;
the mechanic that would perfect his work
must first sharpen his tools.”
DILIGENCE. Do you always do your best? Do you remain focused on your goals? How often have you given up when things seemed difficult?
In 2007, I finished my doctorate in World Religions and became Dr. Kennedy, or “Dr. Terri K.” as my friends are calling me. As a busy entrepreneur, I had to be focused to get the work done in-between leading corporate workshops, speaking at events, coaching private clients, teaching yoga classes, and writing this column and other articles. It wasn’t easy and often required me to sacrifice “play-time” such as catching the latest movie, for “cerebral time” which usually included taking an exam or researching for another paper. Since it was a goal I wanted to achieve, I worked steadily on it over the last few years. It took diligence.
Diligence (from the Latin, industria) is defined as “devoted and painstaking effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent personal attention; a decisive work ethic; a zealous and careful nature in one’s actions and work.” It is the opposite of negligence. The Psychomachia (“Battle for the Soul”) – an epic poem written by the ancient Latin poet Prudentius (c. 410) – outlines diligence as one of the Seven Contrary Virtues. The others are humility, kindness, abstinence, chastity, patience and generosity. Practicing these virtues is alleged to protect one against temptation from the Seven Deadly Sins, with each one having its counterpart – hence the term “contrary.” In this context, diligence is said to fight against “sloth.”
Sloth is not a word we often hear in modern vernacular. However, in ancient times it had a rather strong meaning. Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas defined sloth as “sluggishness of the mind which neglects to begin good… [it] is evil in its effect, if it so oppresses man as to draw him away entirely from good deeds.” Basically, sloth can be equated with procrastination and physical and/or intellectual laziness. A sloth also happens to be a medium-sized mammal from South and Central America. Let me give you a word-picture… A sloth looks somewhat like a bug-eyed monkey. It sleeps from 15 to 18 hours a day and moves only when necessary – and then very slowly, about 0.5 to 1 foot per minute. It has a very large, slow-acting stomach, and usually eats, sleeps and even gives birth hanging from tree branches. It comes to the ground, to urinate and defecate, only about once a week. I hope this does not remind you of anyone you know!
Just as we perform “due diligence” in business when evaluating a prospective investment, you should perform due diligence on your own life. Are you at times exhibiting sloth-like behavior? Have you gotten lazy in any area of your life – in what you eat or how you communicate with your partner? Are you putting things off “for a later date” or quitting when things get tough? As my Mom says, “Time will go by – you might as well make the most of it.” This is your life… make it count! If you have debt, clean it up. If your energy is low, take control of your health. If you’re in a bad relationship, end it now. If you have a dream in your heart, start pursuing it today! Avoid negligence in your own life. Monitor your activities. Develop a zealous commitment to prosperity. Sometimes we want things to simply be given to us – like having the hope of winning the lottery. Well, as Benjamin Franklin said, “Diligence is the mother of good luck.”
Today, I act with diligence.
I understand that I have the power to create prosperity in all areas of my life. The choice is mine. Every day I work on sharpening my tools so I can perform at my personal best. I set reasonable goals and take consistent action. I push past obstacles and learn from unplanned detours. I am devoted to self-less service and unconditional success.
Today, I act with diligence.
Listen to the Affirmation:
Copyright Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy. Power Living® Column Vol. 61.07, originally published May 2007. Teresa Kennedy has written over 70 “The Power of…” columns that are a part of the Power Living® Empowerment Series and available for syndication. Call 212-901-6913 for more information.
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