Many years ago, I listened to the late, great American motivational speaker Zig Ziglar tell his wonderful story of the old-fashioned pump out by the well. You may only be accustomed to getting your drinking or bathing water by turning the faucet, but I remember at my grandparents’ home, you had to get water from a well pump.
You also had to be committed to get water from the depths of these wells — you had to grab the handle and vigorously pump, again and again, until water started flowing out. As Zig tells the story, a friend of his started to pump and pump, over and over, until he was flat wearing out. Each time he would start pumping, he would not get a drop of water, even though he had been giving it his best — or so he thought.
Zig told his friend that you had to keep on keeping on until you finally started to get water. So, his friend decided to give it one more try. This time, he was determined to get water because he was thirsty, and it was a very hot day.
He pumped and pumped and pumped for what seemed like a very long time. Finally, a little drop or two of water started to emerge from the nozzle, and he abruptly quit, thinking he was done. But Zig ran to him to tell him water would only keep flowing if he kept up the smooth strokes of the handle.
The well was deep, and it took a lot of effort to initially get water all the way up from the depths of the well to the top where the pump was located. But when he finally got the water flowing, it was not hard at all to keep it going smoothly.
No task too impossible
In his must-read book Good to Great, Jim Collins tells the story of “The Flywheel.” Imagine you’re standing by a huge flywheel made of stone that weighs tons and is about 10 feet tall. You think there’s no way anyone could budge this thing, but it’s your job to give it a try.
You start to push, with no luck at all. You turn backward and push with all your might, and it starts to roll just a fraction of an inch. You give up, as it seems to be an insurmountable task. The problem is, you quit after it began to move and you lost all the momentum you gained.
You start again, and after you get it to move one inch, this time you don’t quit. It moves a few more inches, and after this huge bolder of a flywheel starts to roll, it’s not that hard to keep it going forward because the momentum is established. But once you stop pushing, you will lose all the energy you put forth.
Don’t give up
Now, isn’t that a lot like business? You have to keep on keeping on until you get your rewards and have success. How many times have we looked at the task ahead of us and felt it was impossible? Yet after many years of hard, dedicated work, you realize everything worked out just fine because you didn’t give up and quit.
As the saying goes, “If success was easy, everyone would do it.” You and I know it’s not easy; you have to keep on pumping the pump and pushing the flywheel.