Would you like to have an impact on the world that lasts for generations? Imagine having people talk about you with reverence as their inspiration. It would be a good feeling, wouldn’t it?
Clyde Miller was never a politician, academic, an inventor, or a prolific businessman. In fact, he struggled throughout the majority of his life to provide the basic necessities for his family. He always lived in simple, modest homes. He was never wealthy. Yet he was able to leave an inheritance for his family that continues to change the world – two simple doors.
The doors aren’t made of gold. In fact, the doors themselves aren’t worth anything. However, what Clyde painted on these doors is a testament to his life and legacy. They speak volumes about who he was and what he believed in.
On the left door you read, in simple hand-writing, the phrase “Work is Fun”. On the right you see simple paintings of a few flowers. That’s it. They are old, falling apart, and are now in storage. But the message they carry is what I would like to talk about today.
Work is Fun
My great-grandfather worked hard his entire life to support his family. While he retired as a plumber, he had held every job under the sun during his lifetime. He was everything from farmer to carpenter, from Navy cook to lumberjack, from inspector machinist to roofer. He was a jack of all trades, and worked hard wherever he found himself. He married my great-grandmother and together started their family during the height of the difficulties of the Great Depression. My father’s father remembers his dad coming home from his daily job to work extra hard on their garden and farm so that his family wouldn’t have to rely on government rations of food. He was always working.
He sold his home in South Gate, California to move his family to Oregon where he would have the opportunity to farm and work various other jobs. Yet only a year later he found it necessary to move his family back to California in worse circumstances than when they had left. The home he had sold only a year earlier had more than doubled in value (it was then worth $18,000). So from their comfortable home in Oregon they moved to a single bedroom home in Ontario. Soon thereafter Clyde remodeled another home in Monrovia, where they moved in 1947.
Throughout his life my great-grandfather took advantage of the land around him and provided produce for his family and his neighbors. He constantly made due with what they had, and learned to create something out of practically nothing. And he learned the value of hard work.
Work is Fun
When I think of the work my great-grandfather did during his lifetime, I don’t imagine myself going through those same difficulties thinking they were ‘fun’. Yet this is the motto he painted on his door. This is the inheritance that he left for his prosperity. Perhaps he too realized that his life was not easy – but he definitely realized that he had the ability to make his work fun.
Clyde Miller realized that if he was to leave a legacy to his posterity for generations, now over 100 years from the time he was born, it would have to be timeless. Corporations are bought and sold. Monetary inheritances are divvied up and spent leaving nothing both bitter resentment. But a true legacy comes from a life based around principle. And in my great-grandfather’s case, that principle was inscribed on his door – “Work is Fun”.
You should paint your principles on your door – or at least in a place where you will see them frequently. Repeat them to yourself so often that they become a part of who you are. Let your children know them and repeat them. Soon, what started as a personal desire can result in transformational changes and a legacy worth noting.
Work is the key. Work isn’t meant to be easy – it induces stress and struggles. Work isn’t meant to be short-lived – if you stop before reaching your goal you won’t accomplish anything. Work creates calloused hands and bruised bodies. Work will break you down – but work will build you up, stronger than ever before.
As you look at your life and the things you do and say, ask yourself this – what is your personal motto? If you state that work is hard, then work will be hard for you. If you say that work isn’t fair, then work won’t be fair to you. If you say that work is beneath you, then you will never be satisfied with it.
If, however, you say that work is fun, you will find joy in it.
Make work fun – it isn’t much use making it anything else.