Hard Work Never Kills, Branding Lesson From My Father

Immediately after supper, my father would sit my elder brother and I down to read to each one of us the task list for the following day. Most of the time the list had 8-10 tasks. Half of them would be shared tasks and the other half would be individual. Initially, I would dilly-dally during the day and fail to finish the tasks. In his wisdom, he would carry forward the uncompleted tasks and that meant the following day you had more things to do. One day I had 13 tasks and he ensured I finished all of them. We hated him for that.

Eventually, we learned to finish the day’s tasks by end of the day. The task list became the alarm that determined what time we woke up to avoid tasks being carried forward.

But he annoyed us even more. When you thought you had finished your day’s work and just wanted to lie down under the mango tree to relax, he would pop up with a new task. It is like he never wanted to see us rest. Sometimes we would slow down the last tasks so that we don’t finish earlier and risk being given more work.

When I started working and earning my own money, I decided to confront him, of course, I was under the influence of something we had partaken together that evening.

“Daddy, can I ask you something?” I posed

He burst into laughter and with his Don Williams voice he replied, “Yes you can”

Like a hunter, I knew this was the moment to go for the kill. It was now or never. I looked him straight in the eye, gathered my courage, and asked, “Why did you torture us when we were teenagers?”

“What do you mean”, he asked with a smile lingering on his face. But I could sense he had an idea of what I meant.

There was tension in my throat, it felt dry and for a moment and I wondered if I had made a mistake to confront my father in this manner. But the product I had imbibed that evening gave me the courage to proceed.

“How come you never wanted to see us rest? You did not care that were tired, all you would do is keep adding more work even when you knew we had started working at 4 am. How can you treat us like that?”

My late father was not an easy man to take down. He was brave and self-assured. Nothing would make him panic-not even a volcanic eruption. He adjusted himself and leaned forward, with a low tone and no smile, he replied, “There is one lesson I wanted you to learn, and maybe I can make it clear now. My son, I wanted you to understand that hard work never kills, on the contrary, it builds your character. That even when you are very tired, there is so much you can do, all you have to do is to change your perspective. In life sometimes, you will feel like you have nothing left to give but you must remember there is a lot you can do even when in that state. Never throw in the towel and that is how you achieve what others cannot.”

He was not done. “Thank you for the hard work you and your brother put in those years as your contribution really helped the family, he added. My heart melted, and my eyes became teary. I wanted to work even harder for him.

That important lesson has stayed with me since then. It is part of me. My work ethic is founded on that very lesson- There is more I can do today, that hard work never kills. It is the same with building a strong brand. It takes time. The hard work is always worth it when you start harvesting the sweet fruits of your hard work.

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