“The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing;
But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”
– Proverbs 13:4

I don’t know about you but I love dreaming big and setting crazy audacious goals!

It’s fun and I think it’s important to connect with the desires of your heart.

But do you know what’s even more fun? Seeing those dreams come true!

For example, I loved dreaming about quitting my job back in 2010. I read books and blogs about how to make a living as a freelance writer and got really inspired!

I listened to stories of how others had quit their day jobs to freelance full-time and I got so excited!

But that excitement would have quickly faded away if I didn’t act on it. If I didn’t add “diligence” to the equation then I would be like the person Proverbs describes, “a man who desires and has nothing.”

(Honest Confession: I didn’t “become rich” as a freelance copywriter. That first year I barely scraped by! And it wasn’t until Year 3 or 4 where I finally felt I was making good money.)

But I was able to do what so many people only dream of: “make a living as a writer.”

And as I reflect on “why” I was able to do that I really feel like “diligence” had a lot to do with it.

So What Is Diligence?

The best definition I’ve come across is from Steven K. Scott, in his book The Richest Man Who Ever Lived (My Notes):

“Diligence: is a learnable skill that combines: creative persistence, a smart-working effort rightly planned and rightly performed in a timely, efficient, and effective manner to attain a result that is pure and of the highest quality.”

There’s a lot packed into that definition. Here’s the five words I would use to sum it up:

  • Creativity (innovation, ideas, etc.)
  • Persistence (hard work, don’t quit, etc.)
  • Planning (strategies, goals, etc.)
  • Efficiency (doing things right)
  • Effectiveness (doing the right things)

I admit, I’m not great in all those areas.

For example, sometimes I focus too much on efficiency and forget about being effective. I tend to micro-manage when I lose perspective.

But I try to get better in each area because I know “diligence” is the “secret sauce” to creating my Ideal Future (aka achieving my goals).

These things have allowed me to work from home for the past five years (I left Egypt). But now I’m ready to build an actual business (the Promised Land).

So I want to double-down on diligence.

It’s time to go back to the basics and get good in each of these areas again so I can enjoy what Steven Scott calls, “the pure side of diligence” which he describes as:

“Getting down to investing one’s days, hours, and minutes in that which brings a pure return on the time and effort invested.”

That’s what I want… a “pure return!”

Here we go!