Ever since I was a young child, it was distilled in me to believe that hard work will eventually pay off. We are constantly tested by this theory and at times it seems inaccurate, preposterous and unobtainable. Perhaps it’s merely impatience or the fact we witness others get ahead in life due to nothing other than luck, but we start to doubt the concept of hard work.
I was reminded of a vivid memory at a basketball camp when I was 13 years old. It was honestly the most gruelling two weeks of my life as despite my size and skill set, every other kid was more talented and more physically imposing. I instantly became the proverbial underdog and knew that hustle was my only key to survival in this land full of giants. I spent the majority of my tenure at basketball camp feeling beat up, exhausted and left behind.
As the camp wrapped up, the counsellors handed out awards to each player. Many of these awards included creative or humourous titles with an inspirational meaning behind them. Last but not least came my award. I frantically went through all of the possible outcomes in my head, but none of which seemed positive or significant. “Chris Toplack wins the Charlie Hustle Award for being the hardest working kid in the entire camp.” My award was met with applause and praise. I was shocked and amazed that these talented players were congratulating me and in full agreement that I worked harder than anyone else. Truth be told, I ended up with some pretty respectful statistics that summer.
Despite all of my professional accomplishments, this moment is among my most precious. Why? It’s a pure example that yes, hard work DOES pay off.