“Skill comes from diligence.” Fortune cookie saying
I’m sure this happens to you from time to time: the universe sends you a gift just to give you a boost and help you keep going. That’s exactly how I felt when I happened upon a slightly battered and abandoned Fortune cookie saying lying forlornly in the grass. Imagine my delight when I scooped it up, smoothed it out, and read these four words, ”Skill comes from diligence.”
To my mind, this slip of paper had floated down from heaven and landed in my path. What a lift it gave me! Today, it sits safe and sound on my little library desk in my office along with about a dozen other little tags. Some day, I’ll list them all in a post – but that’s for another time.
Back to “Skill comes from diligence” – how calm and straightforward a sentence this is! And yet, “diligence” is one of those words like “discipline” or “effort” that gets a bad rap. For many people, I think it sounds a little too “Volga boatman” – too much like grunting and straining for something. Who enjoys that? But let’s unpack this word a bit. Here are some of its standard definitions embroidered upon by yours truly:
“Care:” Conscientiousness in one’s work; taking time to do it well.
“Constant application:” Steady and persistent action taken to progress toward a goal.
“Unremitting devotion:” Continuous, zealous attentiveness joyfully given.
“Industry:” Systematic, productive labor; focus and concentration.
What a relief! And how inspiring! Skill is no mysterious amalgam of talents; it’s not a goal that’s beyond our reach. It’s available to us all. We can move toward it and improve our craft in our creative work through constant and devoted attention. It springs from taking action in a steady, focused way. Hey, we can do this! “Skill comes from diligence” — let’s make this one of our mantras as we all write on!
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