For my eighth birthday, my mother presented me with a used, Royal typewriter and a dogeared college typing text. Though I’m sure I received many other gifts that birthday, these are the only ones I remember. I don’t think I was a particularly conscientious child — in fact I’m positive I was not — and I’m not sure what motivated me, but nearly every day for a period of months, I would sit in my room, diligently reading and practicing the exercises from that textbook. Page by page, I worked my way from “a;sldkfj a;sldkfj aa ;; ss ll dd kk ff jj” and “See the quick red fox jump over the lazy tan dog” to typing real sentences, paragraphs, and a few of my homegrown stories. And when I finally slapped the book shut, I was typing an accurate 35 words per minute. As it turned out, keyboarding was a skill that would open career doors in my future, as well become cause for gratitude.
It wasn’t until recently that I began thinking about the skill beneath the skill — diligence — the ability to apply consistent, conscientious care to a task. And to think about all the ways in which diligence, applied to my life, has helped me.
This week’s writing prompts are designed to explore diligence, its associations in our lives, and how it surrounds and affects us in ways we may not always realize.
- Freewrite for at least ten minutes about diligence.
- Write about a specific time in your life when you were diligent or applied diligence to something. What was that like, and what was the outcome?
- Do you have any strong emotional associations with the terms diligence, rigor, or persistence? If so, what are they? Explore the stories surrounding these associations.
- Do you think of yourself as a “diligent” sort of person? Why or why not? What qualities does a diligent person have?
- What are the two sides of diligence? In other words, in what situations might it be considered a negative quality and in what situations a positive quality?
- In this culture, diligence is considered to be part of a strong work ethic. Why do you think this is so?In what kinds of cultures would diligence be considered strange or unnecessary?
- Respond to the following two quotes. How does each make sense, and how could you apply the wisdom each has to offer in your life?
“Diligence is a good thing, but taking things easy is much more restful.” (Mark Twain)
“What we hope every to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.” (Samuel Johnson)
I invite you to share your thoughts about diligence with all of us — leave a comment.
Image Credit: Jessica Lucia