So, what is the most important personal trait that leads to success? Is it…the ability to network? The ability to innovate? The ability to be a good team player? This list could go on…
The more I read, the more convinced I am that there is no one answer to this question – the question of “which is the most important trait?” But, I am ready to weigh in on one trait – regardless of which of these other areas one gets really good at.
The one trait that rules them all, the trait that comes first, that precedes all other success, is “work ethic.” Those who work hardest have the better chance at success.
And we find such concrete examples of this in sports. I think because it is so tangible. And the list of athletes that simply did not work hard enough, and thus blew their chance to develop their skills, is a long one. While the quotes about those who have a great work ethic seem to stick with us.
I do not follow basketball closely, but there is, apparently, a number one draft pick this year in the NBA who is, at the moment, putting up better numbers that LeBron James did in his rookie year. That little fact got may attention.
His name is Blake Griffin, from the University of Oklahoma, now the outstanding rookie center for the Los Angeles Clippers. You can read a good article about him in this morning’s Dallas Morning News: Jason Kidd isn’t afraid to put Blake Griffin, Mailman in same sentence by Eddie Sefko. And here’s your work ethic quote for the day, by Jason Kidd:
He comes to play every night, and as a rookie, you don’t find that very often in this league.
Troy Aikman, whose own work ethic was (and is, now, as an announcer) legendary, uses this phrase about people that have a great work ethic: “he shows up to work every day.”
Apparently, great work ethic is rare enough that when a player has one, it stands out. Apparently, more than a few players “come to work,” but don’t “show up to work.”
The same is true in any work arena.
So – ask yourself – do you “come to play” play every day – do you show up to work, every day? This is the absolute pre-requisite. Do this first, and all the time, and then include as part of your work schedule time to develop all those other traits that can make you more successful.