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How to Foster a Good Work Ethic 

Every day is an opportunity to show up and put your best foot forward. Oftentimes, this involves doing things you don’t want to and trying your best anyway. By Charlie Creskoff
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Cleaning your room. Washing dishes. Working a part-time job after school.   

These things may not be fun, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile. 

Nearly anything that involves effort and accountability can become an opportunity for growth. Hear me out. 

Instant gratification is incredibly pervasive in day-to-day life—we online shop, scroll through our phones or binge watch that new TV show. These are things that require minimal effort but make us feel good in the short term.   

But what about the long term? Do these things make you a better person?  And, more importantly, do they foster your relationship with God?  

Be honest—the answer is “not really.”  While taking the easy road from time to time is harmless, you don’t want it to become a pattern. Laziness is something the Bible warns against. The Bible teaches that hard work is important for multiple reasons: It is a way of serving others, improving yourself and honoring God. Christians are encouraged to work faithfully—that is, patiently, diligently and responsibly.   

Every day is an opportunity to show up and put your best foot forward. Oftentimes, this involves doing things you don’t want to and trying your best anyway.  

A term for this? Work ethic

It may be hard at first, but once you’ve developed a strong work ethic, it will be your foundation for life. Everywhere you go, it will help you to set yourself apart from others and be remembered as a respectful, hard worker—which is exactly what you want when you need references for college or a recommendation for a new job. So how can you foster a good work ethic? 

Leave a good impression 

Envision how you want people to remember you, and present that image. Dress appropriately, be punctual, teachable and dependable. Listen carefully to others and always show respect, no matter who you are interacting with. 

Think about what work teaches you 

Hard work prepares us for life. Sure, maybe filling fast food orders, bagging groceries or mowing the lawn is boring. Maybe you’re tired from a long day at school and want to put that assignment off just for a little while longer. But powering through and finding what is useful in these challenges will give you a skill set that will guide you for decades to come.  Think about it: Is your job helping you learn to communicate with the public or accept constructive criticism? Are your chores helping you learn to be accountable and reliable? Are you developing problem-solving skills, or the resilience to overcome failures? Put specific words to what you’re learning. Label them and appreciate the lesson God is sending your way.  

Treat others the way you want to be treated 

How would you feel if you were counting on a peer to do their part of a group project, but then they left all the work for you? Now, on the other hand, how would you feel if you were overwhelmed by a big task and a friend stepped up and helped you out, even though it wasn’t their responsibility to do so? A key part of work ethic is thinking about how your actions (or inactions) affect others. Keep your community in mind when making decisions or when you’re tempted to take a shortcut. 

Celebrate your progress  

You’re working hard—recognize that. Do something kind for yourself every once and a while to celebrate how far you’ve come. You deserve it! 

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