“He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand:
but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” Proverbs 10:4
The hand of the diligent brings many riches but it does not always ensure that the owner thereof will be capable of hanging onto them. In this story it is obvious that there was more at work here (than just hard work) that enabled Worm Digger to keep what he worked so diligently to earn.
Triggers, Activators, and Catalysts
I started out in the initial post by saying I first met Worm Digger when I stopped by his dealership to test drive our newest used car. I clarified that I never actually spoke to him, but that I only heard about him from his sales manager and overheard a conversation between the two of them. It was brief, but it was enough to tell me that Worm Digger was a very content man. He seemed content nevertheless still very ambitious as you will see as the lessons here unfold.
Worm Digger didn’t seem to have a care in the world.
What Rick, the sales manager, told me about his employer prior to him stopping by briefly during our transaction was enough to set me on a journey to discover the same contented, care-free, and financially-free life that Worm Digger seemed to enjoy. There are several things that I had learned and have known for a long time, too long to want to admit. I knew how to build wealth (sort of) but never actually acted upon it until Worm Digger provided the motivation. He became a link between what I knew and what I couldn’t envision. But more than that, Worm Digger became a trigger to me, a catalyst to activate the hidden treasures of knowledge; things I had learned from my youth but never did anything about. Too often we let perfection get in the way of progress. And we let what we imagine get in the way of what is right in plain sight.
A Diligent and Enterprising Youth
“Are you Greg?” I said as I walked up to the man standing in the doorway of the sales office; the office looked more like a small, weathered, two-bedroom ranch home than it did a business office. But we were inland just a bit in the rural areas along the coast of Maine and the structure worked well for an office.
“No I’m Rick, Greg is out digging worms.” Already I was intrigued. Of course, I thought he meant earth worms which kind of reveals my ignorance about coastal life and enterprise, until I did some research. Greg was out digging saltwater blood worms; a much sought-after and expensive bait of choice for sportsman fisherman. If you’re driving along the coast of Maine and see folks out in the flats during low tide, digging in the mud, do not assume that they are going after a clam harvest. There are other treasures out there in that muck.
Digging bloodworms is hard and grueling work; pounded by the sun and heat in the summer and oppressed by the freezing temperatures in the winter. Worm diggers go at it year round. Sometimes a worm digger’s hands would get so cold that they would swell up and their gloves would have to come off in order to continue working. The already throbbing flesh would of course be exposed to the elements. Some old timers had grit and dug bare handed all the time. Old and young, worm diggers are as dedicated as the tides are consistent. They were dedicated because they understood the value of their work.
Worm Digger was a diligent man even from his youth. While most young people spend (well I can speak for myself I suppose); While I spent my youth trying to figure out how I could make big time money using brains and not brawn others; farmers, builders, and worm diggers, among many others, were busy making a living and building a future.
“Are you Greg?”
No I’m Rick, Greg is out digging worms.” Rick continued.
“He’s a worm digger. Has been since he was a kid.”
A Thriving Enterprise
“He’s a worm digger, has been since he was a kid.”
I marveled at that and turned it over in my mind.
Here I was, standing under the doorway in the middle of a thriving used car enterprise, learning for the first time about this man that I now refer to as Worm Digger who was off perhaps knee-deep in the mud. The illusion of a man is sometimes better than the real thing and my thoughts of people, especially unique and enterprising people, are usually grand. I had met many over the years but their lives were not as instructive to me, for some reason, as this one encounter with Worm Digger had been. Perhaps the lessons they taught me had primed me for this culmination of all I had seen and heard before; like syrup that has to boil down before it is really sweet and good. I was as thick as syrup, which is why perhaps it took four decades to finally see it. Or perhaps the paths that I have chosen, providing little more than simply ‘getting by’ most of my life, prepared me for this encounter.
From observation, It was clear to me that someone worked hard to build this business. There was a large paved lot with what looked like well over one hundred vehicles. There were two sales people in the office and customers meandering around the lot looking at the shiny new-looking things. There was a two-bay garage off near the road with more than one mechanic busily working within the bays. We were there primarily because we found them online when we searched for dealers that offered in-house financing. It was obvious; someone invested a lot of time, and had invested a lot of money, to make this money-machine move.
Repeatable and Sustainable Results
When Rick said, “He’s a worm digger. Has been since he was a kid.” I instantly remembered my own youth working at the Country Club and caddying or catering to professional men and couples who had built large businesses from-the-ground-up. There was the tire-and-parts chain store owner; I remember once taking his Porsche out for a spin (with his permission) while he was out on the course. There was the gas-and-oil tycoon; a kind and pleasant man. The construction giant respected by all. He also dabbled in gas and oil and managed a small filling station adjacent to his construction garage. There were lawyers who managed their own firms. Private-practice doctors. There was a kitchen and flooring dealer. A civil engineer who had a thriving engineering firm; a true gentleman. The clothing store man who was always grinning ear to ear; he was always a cheery man. I cannot remember his name at the moment because everyone just called him ‘Pants’.
There was the Dunkin Donuts chain family; Often they would bring donuts to the Pro Shop from the bakery before heading out to play a round of golf. And often on the weekends we would gather at one of their houses for a few hands of cards. I remember sitting at the card table with one of them once when the pink slip to his corvette became collateral for the kitty that was much too high for me. I was out. As a youth I equated the fortunes of all the Country Club folks with simply playing their cards right, but now I realize there was much more to it than that. There were things that were both repeatable and more sustainable than being dealt a winning hand.
But I did not see it then. I only saw these men in the relaxed and leisurely atmosphere of the club. I completely missed how they had come to get there. Not at the club but how they came to get to a place of success in life having more money than they could ever spend in the remaining years of their lives. In my desire to duplicate their results I became hasty and sought after the easy paths. After all, as I said, I only saw these men in a place of ease. It made sense to me.
“The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness;
but of every one that is hasty only to want.” Proverbs 21:5
Wealth and Health
After talking about his employer a bit we talked about the car and he handed us the keys for a test drive. Worm Digger arrived shortly after we returned. He was there to pick up his basset hound that lumbered around just outside the office. He looked young and healthy, I was surprised when later Rick told me his age.
“He’s a worm digger. Has been since he was a kid.” I remembered Rick’s words from our greeting earlier.
Worm Digger had been at it from his youth, and he was still at it. This I thought most likely accounted for both his vitality and his wealth. He was muscular, well-fed, and stood upright where most folks his age already begin to stoop. He was tan, free of wrinkles, with bleach blond hair and a contented look on his face, not weathered and worn, and marked by years of worry.
How is it that some struggle their entire lives and yet some thrive?
What makes men to differ? It is partly in the choices that we make.
“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.”
The men at the Country Club had repeatable and sustainable results. Their businesses live on now some thirty years later even though many of them are long gone. I had completely missed one key element that likely preceded the results each one shared. But now meeting Worm Digger, still maintaining the appearance of youth, enjoying the benefits of a thriving enterprise, and yet still out digging worms, I was instructed. We will talk about how these men were able to hang onto what they had made, Worm Digger brought this home to me too, but for now the one key element that all of these men shared, that I now saw in Worm Digger was diligence. Perhaps two ingredients; diligence and endurance.
Many can remain diligent for a short time and when they do not see results will give up, but those that endure through the good and hard times, being diligent in their work and business, will see sustainable results. There is much more to this story than that but it has to begin here. There are no rewards for laziness. Or perhaps to put it better; laziness is its own reward but nothing follows. It promises nothing. It provides nothing. Diligent and consistent work brings results.
I Will Until
This was the first lesson that Worm Digger taught me. That diligence and persistence brings results. Now I have an ‘I will until’ attitude and have been ‘eating up’ overtime at work as much as I can. If I need more money, I dig more worms (I work more overtime). For the time being it is as simple as that. Our budget went from barely manageable to having something to manage. I will until. This is a choice I have made. I will continue to dig worms (to work overtime) until I see the results I wish to have.
I know that many of you have worms of your own to dig. I know that many reading this have begun creating businesses in the world of online marketing. Let me encourage you to keep at it. I KNOW that diligence and persistence here will bring sustainable and repeatable results. Later I will be sharing my own introduction to the online world for those who have not already discovered it.
There is much, much more to Worm Digger and the journey I have now begun that I will be sharing in future posts. I do hope you’ll continue with me on this journey. I am absolutely certain that the principles I am beginning to apply and share about will bring lasting, profound, and sustainable results.
It will probably be three weeks or so before the next post as I have been busy with overtime, renovations, and the other lessons here; Higher Ground and Red Letter Faith. I would love to hear from you how the principles here (as simple as they may be) have inspired or encouraged you. I am making some huge changes in the way I see work and time. I would love to hear if you are making changes too. Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy first Worm Digger lesson.
Kind regards always,