Music & the Spoken Word: ‘He simply went to work’

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given Oct. 31, 2021. 

We all have things to do that we don’t really want to do. Sometimes we dread something so much that we postpone it for a day, a week, a month or even longer. Perhaps we secretly hope that if we put it off long enough, it will magically disappear. Or maybe we tell ourselves that we’re just waiting for the right mood — that we need inspiration to strike before we get to work. And you can’t force inspiration, right?

But as an accomplished artist once said: “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” Commenting on that thought, an expert on motivation gave this advice: “If you are sitting there, putting something off because you don’t feel like it, remember that you don’t actually need to feel like it” (see “How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want To,” by Heidi Grant, Harvard Business Review, Feb. 14, 2014, hbr.org).

It’s true. Most of the world’s work gets done by people who may not feel like it at the time. They just do it. They get up and go to work, day after day, and don’t wait to feel like it. If they did, not much would ever get done. We’re all blessed by the dedication of such people.

Of course we don’t feel like doing hard things — they’re hard! But deep inside, we know that some things simply need to be done. Not because we like it or because it’s pleasant or fun. Just because it’s right, it’s important and it’s needed.

Someone close to a prominent leader was asked about the leader’s unusual ability to accomplish so much. Many thought he had a natural disposition to work hard, or maybe he was blessed with good genes or good fortune. But his close friend simply noted: “It wasn’t luck or blessings that kept him going; what kept him going was grit. He just kept working even when he didn’t feel like it. He had things to do, so he simply went to work.”

Grit is the determination, the willpower, to keep working even when you’d rather not. And often enough, grit, like inspiration, isn’t a requirement for hard work — it’s the result! Then, when it’s over, there’s nothing quite like looking back with satisfaction at a job well done, a task completed and finding that you do feel inspired, after all, to do the next hard thing.

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM, KSL.comBYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), thetabernaclechoir.orgYouTube and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. MST on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.com/viewers-listeners/airing-schedules.

See the Church News’ archive of ‘Spoken Word’ messages