Thursday, March 17, 2011

Warm Worms

You may have heard the old story about the world’s most dedicated fisherman. He had out-fished his companion all morning long. They used the same live bait, the same equipment and fished together in the same mountain stream. But he had almost caught his limit of fish while his friend had yet to catch even one.

“What’s your secret?” asked the friend. “I haven’t even gotten a bite!”

The angler mumbled an unintelligible answer, causing his companion to ask again.

The successful fisherman emptied the contents of his mouth into a cupped hand and replied: “I said, ‘You have to keep your worms warm.’”

Talk about dedication. But did you know there are at least three types of fresh water fishermen (or fisherwomen, if that fits better)?

First, there are those who fish for sport. They like to “catch and release,” quickly throwing their catch back into the water. For these anglers, it’s all about recreation.

Then there are those who fish because they like the taste of fish. They are selective. They only keep the fish they will someday eat.

Finally, there are those who fish because they are hungry. If they don’t catch, they don’t eat. It is important for this group to succeed, and they are fully dedicated to what they do.

Whether or not we fish or even eat fish, there is a lesson to be learned here. We are most likely to succeed when we approach a task fully dedicated. Especially if the task before us is difficult or there seems little likelihood of success. Whether we want to patch a relationship, build a new business, write that first novel, kick a drug habit, or go back to school, we should see how willing we are to do what it takes – even if it means keeping the worms warm.

There are two important questions I ask myself to see just how dedicated I am. Question number one: “How much do I want this?” When some people fish, if they don’t catch, they don’t eat. Some things are too important for me to risk failure. So how much do I want to succeed at this relationship, this career or this dream?

The other question I ask is similar: “How hard am I willing to work?” If ‘success’ only comes before ‘work’ in the dictionary, I may have to work harder than I’ve ever worked before. But if I want it enough, the hard work will be worth it.

“Always bear in mind,” said Abraham Lincoln, “that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.” And that is where it always begins: with a whole-hearted resolution to succeed – in a task, in a calling, in a life.

How much do I want this? And, how hard am I willing to work? Start there, and great things can happen.

-- Steve Goodier

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