I talk a lot about balls; now let's talk about melons.
Here's the story.
I was in high school, looking to make some extra dough; I was around fifteen or sixteen.
A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to join him on a catering job for a couple of weddings. They were both being held in the same banquet hall one Saturday night. We'd be working for the caterer that was responsible for all the food.
When I got to the catering hall early that evening, the guy running things took one look at me and asked, "Are you Italian?"
I had long blond hair at that point, believe it or not. The guy knew I wasn't Italian.
I looked at him and said, "No, I'm Jewish."
You could see the wind go out of his sails. I guess he figured that Italians were the only people for this kind of job? Who knows. Then he yelled something to the other cooks in Italian.
He grabbed me by the arm and took me upstairs, into this room where there were hundreds of melons.
"See the melons? Cut the melons up, put them on these plates, put the plates on these racks."
Looking over the room, it seemed like there were at least two-hundred cases of melons.
And there was no air conditioner up there; it was hot as hell.
Basically, this guy wanted me out of his hair. And he was probably thinking that I'd quit before cutting and plating hundred of melons, and he wouldn't have to pay me.
"I'm not going to let this guy beat me," I said to myself. "I'm going to cut these melons as fast as I can."
So I started doing that.
I was cutting and plating like a madman. It took me an hour and a half, but I did it. All of it. Then I went downstairs.
"That's it," I told the guy. "I finished."
"You're done?" he asked, exasperated. "There's no way!"
He sent one of the other cooks upstairs. The guy came down a minute later.
"He did them all!" he said.
The head guy turned to me, smiling. "You're a worker!" he said. "Maybe we have some work for you downstairs."
Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night doing various jobs, and at the end, I got my money.
That caterer had set me up to fail. For whatever reason.
A lot of people would have gone up to that sweltering room, seen all those melons, and given up right there.
I'm sure you've faced many situations like that yourself.
People will test you. They won't necessarily have your best interests at heart.
Don't let those people beat you.
No matter what you think of the work, or what you "should" be doing, you MUST do your best.
Because that's how you're judged: by your results and the reputation they create for you.
Not by your excuses. Not by "It was too hot up there."
And really, in the end, that's how you're going to judge yourself.
So - how are you doing?