“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
We are hunted on a continuum by our desire for greatness, success, and influence. The question remains, how can we achieve our quest? How can we make sure we walk the right path? How can we ensure our hands don’t get burnt on this race? I have a simple answer to that, wrapped up in MLK’s quote above – Be Driven.
MLK said even if your responsibility is that of a sweeper, be so driven about it that heaven and earth will attest that you did your job well. We tend to miss a lot when we are in pursuit of a goal, we usually think no, this is not part of what I bargained for so I can’t do it with all my energy. We fail to realize that in the end, we are a sum of all our actions and inactions. This attitude of not giving our best to the task at hand is responsible for the conditions where a lot of people find themselves right now.
In the popular story of Joseph, we realize that a lot of activities that led him to become a Prime Minister in Egypt did not seem to portray so from the onset. How will being a Chief of Slaves be part of the training that is preparing me for my dream? How will being a Master of Prisoners ever lead me to dine and wine with Kings? It never adds up. Funnily enough, that is how it always seems for driven and goal-oriented individuals, it is always the end that justifies the process.
Think about your current situation, how can that failure be part of the process? How can working in a company like this be a precondition for the attainment of my goals? How can I be jobless at this age and still attain financial freedom at 40? When you are called to be a street sweeper, be driven so much about it and do it so well that heaven and earth will attest that you did the job well. This includes giving your best to that current boss that seems to not appreciate your effort.
To achieve anything in life, being driven is a prerequisite and giving your best to whatever you find your hand to do per time is the evidence we have that you are driven indeed.
After you have done your best, whatever comes out of that is your success, for a simple reason you’ve done your best and you couldn’t have done more. Regrets only come when in the end you realized that if only you had done more, you would have attained your target.
In your current situation, give your best.
In your current employment, give your best.
In your current endeavour, be known for excellence.