Bill Gates is worth $56 billion. Warren Buffet commands $52 billion. Yet, if accounts of the ancient King Solomon are accurate, his riches would have dwarfed the wealth of today`s richest men, topping the modern-day equivalent of $1 trillion, or $1,000 billion! In The Richest Man Who Ever Lived, author Steven K. Scott looks into the writings King Solomon to find lessons from history`s wealthiest man. Scott`s observations form the basis for this lesson of Leadership Wired.
King Solomon ascended to the throne of Israel around 974 B.C. when he was only twelve years old. According to the Old Testament, God appeared to Solomon and offered to grant him one desire. Solomon, concerned about his inexperience and ability to rule, asked for wisdom so that he could judiciously lead the people of Israel. God was so impressed with Solomon`s selfless request that He decided to bless him, not only with wisdom, but also with wealth. God promised to bestow upon Solomon greater riches and honor than any king before him or any king that would come after him.
What was promised was delivered. Solomon`s wisdom, success, and wealth increased beyond imagination. His gold reserves, holdings of land and livestock, and royal palace were immense. Rulers of nations throughout the world sought his sage advice. During his life, Solomon penned the book of Proverbs in the Bible. Surviving from generation to generation, his writings have influenced the world for thousands of years.
In last edition of Leadership Wired, we examined the life of Ben Franklin for instruction about diligence. In this lesson, we`ll cover similar territory by studying the King Solomon`s writings on diligence as portrayed by author Stuart Scott.
The Consequences of Not Being Diligent
1. You Will Be Ruled.
€œThe hand of the diligent will rule, but the slack hand will be put to forced labor (Proverbs 12:24).
No one likes living life out of control, and we despise being ordered around by others. Yet, if we`re lazy, our labor will be dictated by the demands of someone else. This principle can be seen most clearly in the financial realm. Laziness with finances leads to debt, and when we`re in debt we don`t rule our money. Instead of enjoying our discretionary income, we are forced to use it to repay debts.
2. You Will Crave But Find Little Fulfillment.
€œThe soul of the sluggard craves, but he gets nothing. (Proverbs 13:4)
Sadly, for those who lack diligence, their lives are defined by desire rather than fulfillment. Absent of the discipline to lead the life of their dreams, they are left with empty wishes.
3. You Will Lack Understanding.
€œHe that tills his land shall be satisfied with bread, but he that follows vain persons is void of understanding (Proverbs 28:19).
Today, television channels are filled with people who guarantee wealth without work. They promise you can buy real estate with no money down, make thousands of dollars in stock trading without a penny of savings, etc. Solomon cautions that those who chase after quick-buck artists and their get-rich-quick schemes demonstrate only their ignorance. Individuals who work heartily reap the bounty of their effort. Those who try to cheat the system to gain wealth find themselves as the ones being taken advantage of.
Steps to Bring Diligence into Your Life
Being truly diligent takes time and requires making a habit of applying diligence daily in the important areas of life. However, you don`t have to wait years to start employing diligence in your endeavors. Solomon gives us three steps we can use quickly to bring diligence into our careers, our marriages, or our parenting.
1. Wake Up to Reality.
€œHow long will you lie there, he asks. €œWhen will you get up from your sleep?…poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:9-11)
We think that we have more time than we actually do to achieve our personal and professional goals. Thus, we procrastinate doing what we know we should do. Days of inaction add together into unproductive weeks. Weeks of idleness accumulate as meaningless months. Months and months of lethargy turn into wasted years, and wasted years are the fruitless products of a life filled with regret and sorrow.
Life has more to offer than evenings mindlessly surfing the internet or reclining on the couch watching ESPN or E!. Make each day your masterpiece. Give your dreams a shot by taking steps to lead the life you imagine.
2. Define Your Vision.
€œWithout a vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18)
When we have no vision, we lose our direction, our motivation, our joy, our passion, our energy, our creativity, and our commitment. Fortunately, the converse of this proverb is also true. Whenever you introduce a true vision into any area of your life, you gain new energy. Visions spark action and fuel initiative.
3. Effectively Partner With Others.
€œA man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.(Proverbs 18:1)
In today`s interconnected world, the upper echelon of leadership has no room for lone rangers. Wise leaders diligently develop a team of talented performers and a network of friends and partners. In doing so, they become rich in social capital. As I wrote in The 17 Laws of Teamwork, €œOne is too small a number to achieve greatness.