I find it incredibly ironic that one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned about being a man came from a horse. Boxer, the horse from George Orwell’s Animal Farm presents an exemplary image of the work ethic that every man should possess. Boxer’s simple yet profound response to adversity was the phrase: “I will work harder!”
Adopting this mindset has been surprisingly difficult for me, of course, but it certainly has been beneficial. The most recent instance when I got to practice this happened last week with finals. Wednesday I found myself struggling to keep up with studying for 2 finals, a 3 page paper, and a presentation all due the next day. So I bunkered down and began working my tail off. Then I discovered that somehow the final essay test I had submitted to one of my classes had been half-way erased. Which meant I got another 3 and 1/2 single-spaced pages to write.
At first I just could not handle the load. It seemed the added stress of that last paper put me over the line from “challenged” to “overwhelmed.” After a minor break-down, and a short time in prayer I felt a lot better, but I had the words: “I will work harder” ringing in my head. Sure enough, when I explained the situation to my dad, he proceeded to remind me of the saying he’d gotten from his grandfather: “Get back to work!” So I muscled my way through that night and the next day with no sleep and somehow made it through.
To be honest, inspite of the frustration and utter exhaustion, I would not trade that day for anything. It’s because I was reminded of the value of hard work. Undoubtedly that was one of the hardest weeks of my college carreer thus far, and I hope I never have to repeat it, but I learned that part of becoming a man entails doing the work that is set in front of you regardless of how difficult it is.
I would have liked nothing more than to have just given up and gone to bed, but I couldn’t. It’s because I knew that whether or not I failed my tests, the only way I could have failed myself was if I had chosen not to give it my best effort. Part of growing up is learning to deal with problems, even if you didn’t create them. In my case, that day was a mixture of challenges I’d created and challenges I hadn’t, but I needed to tackle both of them.
I’m not writing this to talk about how awesome I am, or to request brownie points and applause from you, but rather to point out one of the truths I learned about going from being a boy to a man: boys give up, men work harder. I’ve been learning to adopt the “Boxer mentality” and just get things done. Although it’s been uncomfortable, difficult, and exhausting, it’s been worth it because I know it helped me get one step closer to being the man I was made to be.
Unrelated endnote: Apologies for taking so long with this post. Life has been crazy and is fixing to make its craziness a habit. That being said, I apologize in advance for the lateness of the next post, in that I’m leaving for Costa Rica on a mission trip tomorrow and likely won’t be able to blog. Have yourselves a wonderful day and all that.