Do you see a man diligent and skillful in his business? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men. (Proverbs 22:29 AMP)
To be diligent is to do or pursue something with persevering attention, to do it painstakingly. It means to be constant in one’s effort to accomplish a thing.
No matter the field of endeavor, everyone is faced with a need to be diligent in their business. It is actually a matter of choice. If you choose to be industrious, it will pay off handsomely. However, the consequences of slothfulness are grave; mediocrity and un-productivity being but a few. May we all receive grace from God to choose diligence in every small and big task set before us this year and always in Jesus’ name.
For a student, diligence implies:
- Taking time to study the topic ahead of the lecturers
- Going over the notes and lessons taught after each class (this helps your long-term memory)
- Sitting down for a good length of time and using various materials to study
- Being humble to meet others who can put you through difficult aspects
- Finding and joining a study group with which you can synergize and share ideas
- Doing assignments and projects painstakingly and with details
- Attending lectures and tutorials dutifully
- Consulting past questions and materials for each course
- Having a study timetable and following it
- Burning the midnight oil
- Approaching every course uniquely and tactfully. For instance, mathematical subjects should be studied by solving various sample calculations and mastering the method while theoretical subjects should be read deeply in order to understand all concepts.
- Practice, practice again and practice
For an apprentice / trainee, diligence demands:
- Being at the workshop or training center punctually
- Showing interest and enthusiasm to learn
- Asking questions that spur more information from the trainer
- Practicing what has been taught repeatedly
- Being humble to meet seniors and colleagues for difficult tasks
- Collaborating with fellow trainees
- Educating and being willing to share information with others
- Going over the knowledge and practice during leisure time
- Seeking opportunities to explore beyond the scope of training
- Being confident to try new aspects and complete tough assignments
- Practice, practice again and practice
Hard work, isn’t it?
But as has earlier being stated, you will be richly rewarded if you stay industrious. And guess what? It gets easier and better. Yes, it does. By the time you do these over again, thoroughness becomes a habit. You master the art of being diligent. Sometimes however, you may have a few false starts; it may seem difficult to burn the midnight oil or to practice something repeatedly. But you must have heard the popular saying that, ‘The heights reached and kept by great men were not attained by sudden flight…’ So please, do not give up.
Diligence is the path of every great man. You must remember a certain young, good-looking and brave guy, David. He made a practice of driving off wild beasts from his father’s sheepfold that it became easy for him to bravely and skilfully kill Goliath. The reward was that he became popular among Israel’s women and warriors alike, and eventually ruled them as king. Jesus was also industrious. As a boy, he would spend hours studying with elderly bible scholars. When he began his ministry, hours would go by as he taught mysteries and truths and healed ailments. He was so good at what he did that the multitude forgot their meals while listening to him. Wow!
Diligence pays. It breaks protocol. It creates opportunities for a person. If people realize that you are skillful at a thing, they would be willing to pay for your services. An industrious person can never be stranded. In fact, more often than not, he will be honored above his colleagues, sitting with kings and stake-holders. One note of caution though; sometimes, diligence does not pay immediately. There is the period of developing and you may not see the reward at the time. But when it comes, the pay-off will be huge and will compensate for all your years of waiting and development.
So here is what I say: Keep doing what you do. Do it until you are best at it; do it until the world applauds you for it having become all the better by it; do it until God is more glorified by your doing. See you at the top.