By Younas Chaudhary
In the hot and dusty plains of Kansas, most farmers wake up early at 5 am every day and begin their days with grit and tenacity. I learned a great deal from them during my days as a landman (lease hound) in the late seventies and eighties. They taught me resilience, consistency and ways to build a solid work ethic.
What will last beyond this pandemic is your work ethic. Like most businesses, the last few weeks have dealt a blow to my oil and gas and real estate businesses. I could have easily called it quits and stayed at home doing nothing or just acted and looked busy while doing nothing positive or productive during those days. Yet, I have been waking up every day at the crack of dawn and continue to work long hours each day. The day (April 20, 2020) oil prices dropped to nearly a negative -$40 bbl. and I saw that oil was on dangerous turf, I decided to shut down all my oil wells. I had to let my co-workers know that I was in the middle with them, making tough and crucial decisions each day.
Over time, a solid work ethic has helped me overcome many challenges in life. Both my parents were early risers and they would wake up every day at around 4:30 am and pray to God. I often heard them pleading and crying to God seeking forgiveness and asking for His blessings to keep our family safe, happy and healthy. My parents’ early daily morning prayers (though as a child I sometimes considered it funny and at times a nuisance) taught me discipline in life. Later, in my short Army life, discipline developed my work ethic, multi-tasking and time management skills.
You may wonder, what have I been doing over the past nine weeks? I have been consistently working hard every day, because I am passionate about my work ethic, stability of my businesses and I want to keep them profitable. I know that several families rely on my leadership and support especially during these unprecedented times. I could have just easily called it quits, sat at home, done nothing and it would not have personally impacted me. However, my work ethic would not let me do that.
I still rise at around 5 am every day and before my key staff begin their day, I would have given them my directions and advice on making good business decisions for the issues of that day, including finding ways to reduce and monitor all controllable costs.
My question to you is, what have you done over the last nine weeks? Have you enlarged your network, increased your business, expanded your horizons, developed new skills or just binged on Netflix and watched Covid-19 updates?
Think deep inside of yourself! Were you honestly and diligently working from home and developing new skills? The last nine weeks have been a golden opportunity for all of us to improve our business, to build a solid work ethic, to develop a passion and purpose in life.
Apparently, many people would prefer sitting at home for a longer time reaping unemployment benefits and collecting an additional $600+- from the government every week. This is an absolutely sad and bad strategy! If you sit at home doing nothing, laziness will creep in. It is important to maintain a daily hustle, so your zest to do something productive will not fade away.
Almost all States have opened, and it is time to find a good balance between being safe at work and being productive at work. No government in this world can bail out a country’s people forever.
Some of you might be thinking that you will never get your job back as 42% of those laid off may never return to certain industries. However, keep in mind that with every crisis, new opportunities will come up. For example, there will be a surge in demand for travel trailers, campers and recreational vehicles as more people will start regular, longer road trips in the foreseeable future instead of waiting for the airline industry and hotels to get back to normalcy. Whenever, something goes down, something else will go up. This is a good time to find something you are passionate about.
Do not fall into the trap of the naysayers who lament together saying that “the whole world is in this together and there’s nothing we can do about it”.
These are all personal excuses and negative emotions that get disseminated fast. This is a great time to evaluate your personal finances and determine what is truly important to you. Do you still want to eat out 3 times a week or is it better making less expensive and healthier food at home? Make wise personal financial decisions and live within your means.
This is a great time to be positive. Always think of a glass half full vs. half empty. Remember, this is a God-given situation where we have been forced to nest together as one world. Let us embrace kindness, appreciate nature and enjoy the simple things in life. So, let us not just talk about it, but let’s practice it as part of our daily routines.
Our lives are what we make of it and I am reminded of a story of two woodcutters. One was a happy person with a happy family who would wake up early every workday, would sharpen his axe every morning and test its sharpness before he got out to cut trees, and so he led overall a very happy life. The second woodcutter unfortunately was grumpy, had an unhappy family, always woke up late and would not spend time to sharpen his axe every morning. He would cut less wood, was always angry, and that led him to live a life of misery.
So, folks, the choice is yours to make. What kind of a woodcutter do you want to be? If you want to build a good work ethic by sharpening your skills, there is a whole new world waiting for you. So, be positive, be passionate, be consistent and have a great purpose for your own life by your acts and deeds. There is no better time than now- Today!
Find out more about me in my best-selling book “From dirt roads to black gold.” Note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of this book will help people in need through my foundation, the YBC Foundation
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now or will be affiliated.
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