Becoming Diligent: 3 Keys

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How many times have you wished for more consistency?

You and me, both.

It’s not unusual or uncommon. You’re not the only one. And even as you do grow in consistency and improve, you will also feel your lack more as well. It’s part of the process. We don’t actually reach an end-point goal where now we are 100% consistent and good to go. It’s part of life that ebbs and flows, that grows and then contracts during illness or other setbacks, that demands more or less of us at varying points of our life.

Don’t be looking for a static, permanent state, the point at which you’ll be set.

Rather, cultivate the desire and willingness to continue to grow, even in consistency in housework.

Consistency and diligence are related, and recently I learned about the roots in the word diligence. Depending on how you look at it, it contains 3 components, each of which helps us see how to begin growing in it.

1. Diligent: showing steady, earnest, and energetic effort

First, of course, is the basic English definition. It means applying ourselves. It means putting out the effort to accomplish what needs to be done. It’s steady, steadfast, honest. Energetic was not a characteristic I usually think of with diligence, but there it is in the dictionary: When we are diligent, we are using our energy to do what we ought. We aren’t giving our duties the dregs and leftovers. We do them with a good will (just like we want our kids to do theirs, right?).

2. Di + legere: to select apart or out of

So, looking at the root of the word, in Latin it’s made by combining two pieces: Di = apart and legere = choose, gather, connect.

So the beginnings of the word means we choose some things to be set apart – not as untouchable or unusable or special like set apart as holy, but as an active choice to bring some things to yourself.

It might be a stretch, but I see this connecting to diligence when we make a plan or a schedule. When we choose some tasks and put them together in a time slot so that we do them. Diligence is intentional, not haphazard.

3. Diligere: to value or esteem highly; to love

But these two word parts came together in Old French and Middle English to mean the action of valuing, esteeming, or loving something.

How does this become a word we now associate with work and duty?

Because the real way to be consistent and energetic in application is to love the work, to value the work.

How we feel matters – not that we do based on our feelings, waiting to “feel like it,” but rather that we shape and choose our feelings to aid us in doing what we ought and so come not only to value and esteem the work, but even to love it.

Then we find ourselves growing in true diligence.

I’d love to talk about this more and develop it more fully, so I scheduled a free live workshop on the topic and I’d love for you to join!

Monday, March 18, at 1pm Pacific we’ll spend 30-45 minutes digging into being intentional not only with our actions and our plan, but also with our emotions. A replay will be available at the same link immediately afterwards, but it’s always most fun (and energetic) to be there live.

Learn to love what must be done.

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