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Opinion | Jan 30, 2018

A Leader is Diligent

A Leader is Diligent

In history, diligence (or hard work) is what has created wealthy and successful people. A close look at leaders, millionaires and men of abundance often reveals lots of diligence and hard work. Diligence is the persistent and relentless effort by an individual to solve a problem, to overcome difficulties and to accomplish great things.

The Diligence of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, a famous president of USA, is a good example of a leader who was an inexorable, never-give-up/never-give-in man of diligence. In spite of repeated failure and difficulties, he persisted in his political mission until he was successful. Notice how his numerous defeats did not deter him. He continued to work hard, he persisted and his relentless efforts paid off in the end!

He failed in business in 1831,
He was defeated for legislature in 1832,
He experienced a second failure in business in 1833,

He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1836,
He was defeated for Speaker in 1838,
He was defeated for Elector in 1840,
He was defeated for Congress in 1843,
He was defeated for Congress in 1848,
He was defeated for Senate in 1855,
He was defeated for Vice-President in 1856,
He was defeated for Senate in 1858,
He persisted and was finally elected President in 1860.

Things You Should Know about Diligence

  1. Diligence is the personal trait that makes a person a leader. Most leaders are rich and prosperous because they are ahead of everyone they lead.

The hand of the DILIGENT SHALL BEAR RULE: but the slothful shall be under tribute.

Proverbs 12:24

  1. Diligence is the personal trait that makes a person have ideas that lead to abundance. The THOUGHTS OF THE DILIGENT TEND ONLY TO PLENTEOUSNESS; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

Proverbs 21:5

  1. Diligence is the personal trait that leads to promotion. Seest thou a man diligent in his business? HE SHALL STAND BEFORE KINGS; he shall not stand before mean men.

Proverbs 22:29

  1. Diligence is the personal trait that makes a person rich. Almost every rich person is a diligent person. He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of THE DILIGENT MAKETH RICH.

Proverbs 10:4
The Diligence that Created the World-Famous Kentucky Fried Chicken Business

When Colonel Harland Sanders retired at the age of 65, he had little to show for himself, except an old Caddie roadster, a $105 monthly pension check, and a recipe for chicken.

Knowing he couldn't live on his pension, he took his chicken recipe in hand, got behind the wheel of his van, and set out to make his fortune. His first plan was to sell his chicken recipe to restaurant owners, who would in turn give him a residual for every piece of chicken they sold – 5 cents per chicken. The first restaurateur he called on turned him down.

So did the second.
So did the third.
So did the next one thousand.
In fact, the first 1008 sales calls Colonel Sanders made ended in rejection. Still, he continued to call on owners as he travelled across the USA, sleeping in his car to save money. Prospect number 1009 gave him his first “yes.” Here you may understand the definition of diligence better: The persistent and relentless effort by an individual to solve a problem, to overcome difficulties and to accomplish great things.

After two years of making daily sales he had signed up a total of five restaurants. Still the Colonel pressed on, knowing that he had a great chicken recipe and that someday the idea would catch on. Of course, you know how the story ends. The idea did catch on. By 1963 the Colonel had 600 restaurants across the country selling his secret recipe of Kentucky Fried Chicken (with 11 herbs and spices).

In 1964 he was bought out by future Kentucky governor John Brown. Even though the sale made him a multi-millionaire, he continued to represent and promote KFC until his death in 1990.

Colonel Sanders' story teaches an important lesson: it is never too late to decide to never give up. Earlier in his life, the Colonel was involved in other business ventures – but they weren't successful. He had a gas station in the 30's, a restaurant in the 40's, and he gave up on both of them. At the age of 65, however, Harland Sanders decided his chicken idea was the right idea, and he refused to give up, even in spite of repeated rejection.

He knew that if he kept on knocking on doors, eventually someone would say “yes.” This is how Jesus has commanded us to approach life. Diligence! Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9) We must be relentless and inexorable in our mission.

Perhaps now, dear leader, you will understand why a person who is diligent is usually a successful person. Let diligence be the hallmark of each leader so that he can accomplish great things!

By Dag Heward-Mills
[email protected]

Dag Heward-Mills
Dag Heward-Mills, © 2018

This author has authored 92 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: DagHewardMills

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