Do the Work Others Avoid

When I was a kid washing dishes, some of the other dishwashers would do everything in their power to avoid handling the dishes at the front of the dishwasher. The job was incredibly gross, and you left work soaking wet, as we were washing thousands of dishes each night. Other dishwashers would refuse to work the back of the machine, the dishes being extremely hot, as that was what was necessary to clean them for the next person to use them. In this case, the dishes would hardly have time to cool before being used again. I worked whatever side someone else refused to work, finding neither to be nearly as bad as the other dishwashers made them out to be.

At the skating rink, someone had to clean the bathrooms. Another job that was without anything to recommend it. With hundreds of teenagers filing through them each night, they were a mess. Cleaning the bathroom was done by taking a large hose and spraying down the entire bathroom with scalding hot water, preventing you from having to touch anything (if there is something beyond a tetanus shot, you would have insisted on one just walking into the bathroom). Another job that no one wanted to do, I did without complaint

A few summers later, I put stucco on houses for the summer. Well, I didn’t ever put the stucco on houses. Instead, I was the person responsible for dry mixing the concrete, which required using a hoe to mix the powdered concrete and coloring into stucco so that more experienced laborers could apply it to the chain link fence that was nailed against the house. The result was always my hands being literarily stuck to the hoe because of holding them in a position for so long and mixing without a break. I had to use a high-pressure hose to try to loosen them up during breaks.

In every job I ever held, there was some work that other people refused to do because it wasn’t pleasant or because they thought it beneath them. In every case, their beliefs made things way worse than they really were. Because I was willing to do anything that needed to be done without complaint, I was often given other work to do, I was invariably asked what I wanted to do and was always given those jobs.

Being willing to do what other people refuse to do is a competitive advantage. Doing what others cannot will themselves to do is what separates people who succeed from those who struggle; it separates leaders from the pack. The more unpleasant or difficult the outcome, the more important it is to have someone that will do what is necessary to produce the outcome. If you want to distinguish yourself from your peers, do what others refuse to do.

Filed under: Success Mindset

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