Labor Day is a very unique national holiday. To most people in the Northern states it signifies the official end of the summer with a three day National Holiday. Also in the Northern states, all the kids in elementary and high school enjoy this weekend, as they realize that school opens a day or two after Labor Day. At seashore towns up and down the coasts, it's the last weekend for family barbecues and last time to swim at beaches protected by lifeguards. Unfortunately, it's also a big shopping weekend with sales running at major retailers. Somehow this seems to defeat the true purpose of Labor Day, which should allow all workers to enjoy a day off in their honor.
Discounting all the common reasons to celebrate a long weekend, this holiday is most unique because it is not celebrated in memory of any individual man or woman. The holiday does not recognize any religion, race or nationality. What it does recognize is the social and economic achievements of American workers. It recognizes the contributions that workers have made to make America a strong and prosperous nation.
I find it fitting on this Labor Day Weekend, to discuss how all good things come from the devoted labor of not just Americans but from individuals around the world and throughout history. All the wonderful art and sculptures in places of worship, museums and art galleries around the world are a tribute to the labor and devotion of their creators. You can travel for a lifetime, and never get a chance to witness all the wonderful things that men and women in all continents have contributed through their labor.
Every invention from the wheel to the space shuttle started with an idea in someone's mind and ended up becoming a reality through years of perseverance and hard labor. All the complex machinery in every factory around the world, started as an idea and had years of labor added to it, to create value and progress for the masses. I guess if you were looking for common formula for all great achievements, on every continent, throughout the history of mankind, it might look like this:
Ideas + belief + investment of resources + labor + passion + perseverance = SUCCESS
This formula is not for quitters. It's not for individuals looking for shortcuts or instant gratification. It's not for those who are afraid to fail many times before finally succeeding. It's not for the lazy, complacent, whiners or excuse makers. This formula is for those who are willing to work hard and long hours to get what they want, because they believe it's possible and they are willing to sacrifice the present for delayed gratification.
In our modern day, with all our conveniences, it's too easy to be impatient. Individuals expect their achievements to be as quick as their high speed internet connection. Our corporations are more concerned about making this quarter's numbers than they are about investing the necessary resources and labor to have a GREAT product two years from now. A good example of this might be the differences we see between Toyota and General Motors. Toyota seems to invest and execute for the long-term while GM does so for the short-term. You know who's winning this battle.
Too many individuals think short-term rather than long-term as well. Reality television programming makes instant stars and instant millionaires out of people, who have invested very little labor. Thus, tens of thousands of people all around the country stand in line for days to audition for one chance at quick fame and fortune. Perhaps they should devote more of their time to higher education for long-term prosperity.
Casino Gambling, which was limited to two states just a decade or so ago, is now present in many states and growing. The patrons of casinos want to make quick, easy money just like day traders, real estate flippers and sports betters who have neither the time nor patience to apply the success formula we just discussed.
However in the end, the steady and methodical tortoise will usually win the marathon against the hare. Steady methodical labor is how highways and buildings and bridges get built. It takes labor to make anything of high value. On this Labor Day weekend, let's make a toast to all the workers who finished every project to completion in the past, to make our lives better. And a second toast, pledging that we never become afraid to labor for all that is good and beneficial in our lives. Happy Labor Day!