Friday, July 9, 2010
Art of Work--Work of Art
In this morning’s paper, was an article on the artist, Arnold Friberg, who died recently (his viewing is today in SLC).
The article quoted Friberg: “When I was a little kid, I mowed lawns. Instead of just pushing the lawnmower around the middle, I got down and edged. I had a little whiskbroom, and I lined up the edges and corners. It was just inborn in me, I had to do extra. The word spread very quickly. I always had work to do. … You always have to do extra. That is the principle of success no matter what field you are in. It’s so simple, nobody will believe it. You give more than you get paid for. All my life, I’ve given twice what they’ve paid for. This keeps you growing. Then your prices, I’ve found, go up almost by themselves [your pay goes up as a result of your extra efforts].”
I read Friberg’s comment with interest on many levels. I remember being a little kid on a farm, who was expected to work, and my sometimes poor attitude toward work. I remember my own children, as they were growing up, and their attitudes. I watch my grandchildren work, and notice their attitudes. While growing up, I also observed the missionaries in Minnesota and noticed that the “good” missionaries (the memorable, admirable ones) willingly worked hard, while some others (the forgettable ones) sloughed off and didn’t put forth much effort. The same thing could be seen in the student nurses of my acquaintance.
Friberg was right about the “principle of success” being based on one’s choice to do more than is expected. The Savior also taught that principle to his disciples. He told them that after someone has compelled you to go one mile with him, go a second mile—an extra mile—with him.
You go that “extra mile” for yourself, for your own self-respect. When you go the extra mile, you no longer are a “slave” or a “servant” or merely an “employee.” You are a free agent. But it is also more than that. You are declaring yourself to be more than ordinary. You are achieving excellence of character as you give more of yourself.
I can image that the Savior also told his disciples that they should “whistle while they worked” —be cheerful— during that first mile, for He knew that they, then, would involuntarily break into joyful singing during the “extra mile.”