The real pros know how to motivate themselves before they start having bad days. They look at work differently, not just not just as a means of making a living, but as a significant part of a quality life. Their particular mix of attitude, responsibility, cooperation and accomplishment make them a valuable commodity in any organization.

Joan is a busy realtor with an active family who also manages to organize a sizable silent auction for her church and spends time helping at her kids’ school as well. Joan’s willingness to get the job done, no matter what the job happens to be, has earned her the respect and awe of everyone who has ever worked with her. Does she have boundless energy? No. She’s not even a morning person. Her secret? “I have exactly 24 hours to make life better than it was yesterday,” she says. Joan would probably laugh if I told her she was a mule.

The quiet asset of determination can be as awesome as it is invisible.

Mules, by the way, like their jobs and perform well as a result. If they find themselves getting in a rut, they stubbornly haul themselves out. That quiet determination is a huge asset in business. The ability to get over the bumps is frequently the difference between success and Chapter 11.
Mules are often hard to miss because of their size and stature–especially the strain known as Mammoth Jack. That’s why their contributions are routinely taken for granted. One thinks of the 6-foot-3 Detroit Red Wings center Johan Franzén. Dubbed “The Mule” by his teammates, Franzén can also catch fire. He has, for example, surpassed super-star Gordie Howe’s number of game-winning goals in a month, a remarkable five.

Rationality may be another enviable mule trait. “My favorite animal is the mule. He has more horse sense than a horse. He knows when to stop eating–and he knows when to stop working,” President Harry S. Truman once remarked. Being a Democrat, Truman’s bias for the son-of-a-donkey mule comes as no surprise.

The mules–steady, willing, get-the-job-done employees–are worth their weight in gold. Don’t confuse the reliable, day-in, day-out dependability with a lack of creativity. It’s usually the mules, the folks who are there, who find the creative solutions to everyday problems. They know how things work. Mules know what Woody Allen meant when he said, “80 percent of life is showing up.”

Mackay’s Moral: Being a mule beats being an ass any day.


About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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