Daily Wisdom

Meditations on the Book of Proverbs

9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?

   When will you get up from your sleep?

10 A little sleep, a little slumber,

   a little folding of the hands to rest—

11 and poverty will come on you like a thief

   and scarcity like an armed man.

 Will you do something today to advance towards your goals? To deal with your problems? Diligence and idleness both compound over time. Put off today’s problems, avoid the messes, and they will compound. The disorder in your life accumulates slowly, but it will become monstrous if left for too long. A mess made over the course of months is much more difficult to clean up than the one made in a day.

 If you have failed to be diligent and the clutter in your life has become overwhelming, don’t be discouraged. Resolve yourself to handle it the same way it got there in the first place, one small piece at a time. Decide on a time that you will stop allowing things to get worse, and begin the process of making them better.

 “A little… a little…” Just as the chaos in your life accumulated a little at a time, so will your efforts to bring order. It is better to divide your goals into small steps than to take them as a whole, to measure your progress by how far you’ve come rather than how far you have yet to go. Too much work leads to burnout, and too much rest leads to poverty. Decide in advance when to work and rest, establish rules for yourself to maintain a sustainable pace. There is a time for work and a time for rest, be prudent in how you balance them.

 Poverty comes as a surprise to the lazy, they do not anticipate the compound effect of avoiding work little by little. Burnout follows the same pattern for those who put off rest bit by bit, sooner or later fatigue will overwhelm them. The same also applies to the prudent, it is often surprising how easily goals are achieved when taken one step at a time.

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