Work ethic is appreciation of the price of work. Gratitude is appreciation of work’s reward.

Do you work hard because you have to or because you love pouring yourself into a task? Are you just grinding away at the millstone or trying to challenge yourself to raise your bar and quality of work?

I remember discovering this as a kid bussing tables, washing dishes, and generally doing other kinds of jobs that were messy and glamorless. I’m not going to do this for my boss’s eyes but to see if I can do it better and more efficiently than anyone else I’ve seen do the job. Suddenly I felt my ego engaged and my spirit involved in the task. Soon after that the boss did notice and began asking me to take on bigger and more important tasks.

It didn’t hurt that I had two parents that were shining examples of work ethos and expected as much from their children. Work’s reward goes way beyond paychecks and savings accounts. Work’s greatest reward may be what we learn about ourselves in the process.

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