By: Tina Baiter
Once a month I make the five hour drive through beautiful East Texas back home to see my family. On the drive I usually listen to a book on CD, so I can avoid hearing five hours worth of radio commercials. When I left for home last weekend, I forgot to grab an audio book to take with me.
As I traveled down Highway 59 towards my brother’s house, I found myself getting agitated at the repeat commercials. I channel surfed for the first few hours until I stumbled on an oldies country station playing one of my favorites. As the song ended a commercial for Jeep came on the radio. I remember the commercial vividly because it taught a moral missing in many places today.
The commercial said, “The things that make us American are the things we make. This has always been a nation of builders, craftsmen – men and women for whom straight stitches and clean welds were matters of personal pride.”
Those words made me think about the importance pride plays in our lives today. Perhaps more importantly, how the lack of pride can hinder us from achieving our dreams. Reread the last line of the commercials. Notice the word “were”? What does that say about our society?
What is Pride?
Pride can be described as many things:
-A feeling of self-respect and personal worth;
-Satisfaction with your achievements; or
-The trait of being spurred on by a dislike of falling below your standards.
Truth be told, those three things are really one in the same. I think pride is best exemplified through the eyes of child. When I arrived at my brother’s house, my three year old nephew was beaming with joy. In his hands he clutched a small toy ambulance, and he couldn’t wait to show it to me.
“Where did you get that from?” I asked him with a hint of curiosity and awe in my voice.
“At school today,” he said, with a gleam in his eyes and a huge smile. “I earned 20 stars, and I got to pick it out as my prize.”
Considering he only attends school two days a week, it had taken him 10 weeks straight of great behavior to earn those 20 stars. And he knew he had earned that toy ambulance through the hard work that comes as a mixture of behaving and putting his best effort forward to learn all he could at the young age of three.
Bringing Pride Back
As I drove home Sunday I thought about the commercial. Then I thought about my nephew. Then I wondered, “Do I put the same pride in my work that he puts into his efforts at school? Would I have been able to post up 20 stars too?” Would you?
My answer is yes. I have a deep dedication to everything I do. If I have a project due, I make sure to meet the deadline. Most of the times, I meet it early. Sometimes that means I have to put in extra hours at the office. But when I go home, I can say without a doubt, I gave 100 percent to my day, to my project, and to the standards I set for myself.
My parents instilled in me a dedication to hard work, perseverance and tenacity. They instilled the same pride in my twin brother. And today, my brother is passing that important life lesson onto his son. What about you? Are you teaching those around you to have pride in what they do? Or are you showing them that mediocrity is okay?
The Loss of Pride
You don’t have to look far to see that pride in what we do has greatly decreased over the last 30 years. We have learned to accept mediocrity. We have learned to do just enough to get by.
I am often surprised when I hear people tell me, “You can’t hold people to the same high standards you hold yourself to. Not everyone can be Tina. It’s not fair to judge them by your standards.”
And that excuse is one of the many reasons why pride is on its way out. We no longer hold people accountable to our expectations. How many times have you witnessed (or perhaps done) the following recently:
– Let a co-worker get by on missing a deadline because they had an excuse?
– Not done something, but spent plenty of time coming up with an excuse?
– Accepted the poor attitude of the staff at the restaurant, store or doctor’s office?
– Ate bland food you paid for because you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings?
– Not stood up for your belief because of fear of rejection?
The list really could go on. But the moral is still the same. No matter how old you are, you should never lose sight of the pride you had when you were three. The pride that comes from doing your absolute best to reach a goal. The pride that comes from giving your all to impress someone, but most importantly, to impress yourself.
What I failed to mention about the Jeep commercial was how it ended.
“This was once a country where people made things, beautiful things. And so it is again. The things we make, make us.”
Remember that as you go towards your goals. Your results will be a direct reflection of the pride you put into your work.
[Ed. Note: Tina Baiter is the chief operating officer at Living Every Minute. Today is the last day you can get the special offer she’s giving you for 20% off the Living Every Minute Audio Program. Order it today.]