Confucius in My Life

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During the weeks of preparation before the PSAT in October, I was constantly reminded by my mother, who always repeated a famous Confucius saying in Chinese, “Some people dream of success, but only some wake up and work hard at it.” When I heard my mom say this, I would look up, give a head nod, and then return back to what I was doing. Only recently though have I realized how true this was and how this saying applies to many people in our society, and even I may be guilty of it sometimes, too.
We can see the lack of effort in our society through the American work ethic. The American work ethic is different from the work ethics of many immigrants in America. Over the years the American Economy has been dwindling with unemployment rates rising. Though there are many working to find a new business to work for, Americans have been relying too much on the government for providing unemployment compensation. However, while the average American has been eager in the wait for the American economy to drastically change, immigrants have taken a different path to work hard and take on jobs that no one else would do. They may come from countries where starvation may have been the punishment for laziness. I am not saying every American is lazy, but that the work ethic of the American society as a whole has changed for the worse. Our society anxiously waits for the future to fall in place in front of them, rather than working to the hardest extent to change the future ourselves. A lot of people have an impulse to want to do less work for more benefits or to just merely reach the minimum requirements in order to succeed.
Through the widespread use of technology, our work ethics have changed drastically. In history, the work ethic changed from manual labor and hard work determining someone’s fate to machines or electronics doing work previously done by our own hands. Of course, it is more efficient, but it has its negative setbacks in the work ethic in society where we are able to believe that we can do things the easy way and not having to put any effort into doing something. We have the convenience of cars to drive us, instead of having to walk to work. We have computers that allow us to communicate with others without having to see them. These were made with good intentions in making our lives easier. However, this has brought out the laziness in people to not have to do anything.

Just a couple of weeks ago, my gym class had to run the mile. This is one of the few things in gym class where we are given a grade for our skill in running. However, many people assume it is okay to walk the whole mile because they either dislike running or do not even want to try to use their energy in running for just about twelve minutes, at most. There are people who do not have the skill or the longer legs to be able to run faster. However, not putting forth any effort is a different story. It means that someone does not care to do better in tasks given to him.

Though skill level is an ability or natural talent given to someone, effort is a gift in everyone. It is whether or not one wants to use it that makes the difference and separates the successful people from the average group. When we only want to put in minimal effort, we become lazier and less diligent in everything we do. If everyone only put in a minimal effort in everything we do, our society would not get anywhere. There would be no advancements, and no creativity in this world we all live in.





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