Walking Uphill in the Snow May Build Character…For Someone Else

I love talking with older people about work ethic.  During this conversation, I inevitably have to hear about how the work ethic of today’s generation sucks.  What today’s generation needs to understand is that walking uphill in the snow is for people who don’t want to get anywhere.

Here’s what you should do instead.

Unique Ability is a short and impactful read.  In this book, they talk about how you should focus on only those activities where you are exceptional.  Are you focusing on things that you are exceptional at in your line of work?

Notice how I didn’t say “very good at” or “great at”?  The areas that I am talking about are the areas that you are exceptional.

How do you know if you are doing something you are exceptional at?

It’s like breathing. The irony about doing something that we are exceptional at is that it’s typically the areas that are easiest for us to do.  They are so easy for us and come so naturally that it’s like breathing.  We don’t even have to think about it.  The danger is that sometimes we don’t value these activities because of the ease at which we can do them.

People are drawn to it.  When you are exceptional in an area, people gravitate towards it.  Pay attention to the things about you that people marvel at.  Do you get the same types of compliments over and over again?  There’s something to that, so be on the lookout for it.

There’s a lot to be said for character-building activities, just not when you are an adult.  Let’s keep walking uphill in the snow, doing long division by hand, and dying from the flu where it belongs–in the past.

For today, take a look at your business or platform and ask yourself how much impact you could make by focusing on those activities that you are exceptional at.  How much easier would building your business be?  What would the difference be in your life and in the lives of those that you touched?

Wouldn’t you rather sled down a hill than walk up it?

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4 Responses to “Walking Uphill in the Snow May Build Character…For Someone Else”

  1. PhilWrzesinski December 15, 2010 at 1:46 am #


    While I agree that we all need to take where we are exceptional and make it our calling card by continually pushing the envelope in that area, there are also times when we need to focus on our weaknesses, too.

    For instance, as a retailer I might be exceptional at knowing and selling my products, but if my marketing is poor, or my cash flow/inventory isn’t managed then I’m out of business. A three-legged stool cannot stand if two of the legs are non-existant.

    While staying exceptional at what you do best, you still need to either be pretty good at the other stuff or surround yourself with people who are exceptional at the other stuff. Sometimes the greatest gains you can make personally are to focus on your weakest area. I used my triathlon experience to show how this works here (

    • Brandon R Allen December 15, 2010 at 2:45 am #


      I agree with the get help aspect. If you are not strong at something. Let’s say marketing, would it make sense for you to work in an area where you lack knowledge and passion or utilize someone else who can nail it in that category. As a business owner you should know about all of the aspects of your business but you should focus most of your attention on what you are exceptional at.
      The problem that we have, and I know this from personal experience, is that we can get distracted by doing things that we can do reasonably well just because we are proficient.
      As someone who has also competed in triathlons that is a totally different realm. I am not saying this with regards to the physical realm. In that realm it is easier to eat candy and not workout, that doesn’t make it OK. In the professional realm you have an idea of what you do well that doesn’t mean you don’t push for growth, you just have to be strategic.

      I love the thoughts for sure. I may address this further tomorrow so stay tuned.

  2. Michael Drew December 15, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Can I walk up hill to get some exercise and enjoy the journey speeding down the other way in my sled?

  3. Matt September 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    I disagree. Walking helps builds character at any age.

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