Some have it at birth it seems, and yet still, most develop it over their life spans—particularly in early adulthood, where the approach to diligence is rather sudden. The diligence gene is one half of the wise life, collected with the other, prudence.
Both together create a person high in self mastery.
At first, the diligent one is responsible. They’re not lazy or obstinate and they rarely feature for the “duty” of procrastination. Procrastination marks those genetically inferior to the diligence gene; it’s not supposedly in their genome.
Procrastinators are genetically, or at least situationally, immune or disabled to this ‘gene’—able to generate much energy in certain ways but not consistently over the suite of tasks that bears down on their actual lives. And that’s the crunch moment for all of us; to re-capture in diligence those little compartments where the diligence gene has run awry.
And diligence, truth be told, is very often something that is passed down from generation to generation through the form of modelling. Chances are you saw a model of diligence and saw them succeed; that’s why you became diligent in that way.
The Wisdom Sect
Diligence and prudence—the ingredients of self mastery—are biblically poised virtue enshrouded in the wisdom sect. Check out Proverbs wisdom and this will be confirmed.
This is not some awkward movement estranged to the world and usefulness; these very much combine together to make the person collecting these attributes a balanced, cautious and responsible unit of godly productivity. Indeed, these key ingredients of life are measured to wisdom law and no one can get away from them.
The fact is diligence—whilst posed as a “gene” here—is not actually a genetic thing at all. It’s an acquired thing of the will. If a person has a purpose to be diligent they’ll become same. No one who sets their heart and mind on becoming diligent will fail in achieving it. But it does beckon constant maintenance.
Diligence is the opposite of negligence—the precursor to all manner of criminal and civil neglect. At the worst end, the negligent end up in court and eventually in jail. They fail to care for the people they should’ve cared better for, and this is no more better characterised by how they cared (or didn’t care) for themselves. Diligence is as source, self care.
Diligence is not just to be seen doing; it’s heavily responsive at the need shown at the level of the conscience—it’s indeed, spiritual. It’s implied respect. It’s also instinctive, responsive many times without thought. This is diligence at the heart level—the seat of intentions.
Diligence is caring. Diligence is love. It’s doing all we can, all we ought, even the things we—in all conscience—ignore because we’re too lazy at the time, yet regret later for the missed opportunities.
Grow in it
This is one ‘gene’ we can grow. There is hardly a better favour we can do for ourselves than get off our steely behinds and get stuck into the work ahead.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.