Today is President’s Day in America, and for many that means vacation. A day of rest and relaxation, and a good reason to remember a few of the people who helped shaped the destiny of our nation. For me, today brought to mind a quote from Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States and one of the greatest proponents of human rights in the history of the nation.
“Things may come to those who wait…but only the things left by those who hustle.”
I’ve never learned the context in which he made that statement, but the quote has stuck with me for as long as I can remember. It reminds me, when I feel lazy or disheartened or tired, that there is work yet to be done. Wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, there’s something more to be contributed or learned or experienced.
Our country was founded and built by enterprising human beings – men and women with the grit, fortitude, and work ethic to make extraordinary things happen. They weren’t people who waited patiently and hoped good things would come to them. They worked hard, and as a result, good things happened.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t rest and wait patiently from time to time. Of course you should. Just not all the time, and certainly not in the context of your purpose or work. If there’s something you want to accomplish or achieve, get started and keep after it until you’ve made it happen. When you get too tired to keep going, rest. Then get up and get back to it. That’s hustle.
Personally, I value the lesson implied in the quote from honest Abe because it came from a man who knew exactly what he was talking about. He didn’t just talk about hustle – he hustled – and the results of his work are with us to this day. As you face whatever comes next – in your job search, career, and life – remember that “things come to those who wait…but only the things left by those who hustle.”
Happy President’s Day!