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Work Ethic…….After a certain age is that something you can teach?

Recently I have had a discussion/debate with a few friends regarding work ethic. The discussion was centered around can you teach work ethic and if you have it where did it come from – meaning was it self-taught or who influenced you to get to that point.

A few days ago I sent an email to ten people who I believe have a strong work ethic. No surprise, eight people responded (thanks J.S., T.U, S.S, A.B., G.S., S.C., M.H., R.H.) in less than an hour – perhaps that supports their strong work ethic.

When I asked people why they have a strong work ethic here are a few responses:

  1. I think my strong work ethic first and foremost is a product of the way I was raised.
  2. “Good enough” is not something I ever strive for.
  3. I have a competitive desire to succeed and optimize my potential. When I see others doing well, I say to myself, “Why not me? I can do that too.”
  4. My desire to achieve something. Be a success. I wanted it all from a young age.
  5. Fear of failure and take nothing for granted.
  6. As I am the earner in my family I feel responsible to provide.
  7. I believe work ethic is tied to passion and purpose in the work you’re doing.
  8. The second influence I would point to is where you are working. What does that environment and culture dictate to the individual? Is it a group of hard workers, doers as I would call them? Or is it a group of clock punchers that are just doing the minimum job required? This molds each of us and we tend to play up to our competition to use a tennis reference. I try to surround myself with friends, colleagues, and mentors that are doers and that pushes me to do the same.

My belief is that you can teach work ethic at a young age but it is something that is very difficult to do after someone is in their mid-twenties. People can certainly change later in life but my position is it happens very rarely and the effort of trying to teach that usually doesn’t pay off.

Ok your turn:

  • If you had to guess, what % of people do you think have a strong work ethic?
  • Why do you think people have a strong work ethic?
  • Do you think that is something that can be taught to someone in their twenties?
  • I look forward to reading your comments.

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