You Have to Do the Work

I wrote that on the board across from my desk just now to remind me of the fundamental truth of my life.

My brother and I had lunch on Tuesday and we were talking about work and life and what not and he made the comment that he sometimes wished there would be some rich relative we never knew existed who’d suddenly step out of the woodwork and give us millions of dollars.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Or winning the lotto. It’s fun to imagine buying some ticket on a whim one day and waking up to find that you’d won $300 million and can now be and do whatever you want to be and do.

My response to my brother was that I long ago resolved myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to be saved by some rich relative, rich spouse, or lucky break. But that what I do have is a work ethic and drive that lets me keep going day after day, week after week, year after year. (He has it, too. We had a good dad.)

That’s something I can rely on. Steady forward progress brought about by my own efforts.

But working from home it’s easy to spend an entire day doing nothing. Check this forum, read that blog post, play that solitaire tournament, rinse, repeat.

Hence the note on my board.


I can’t hope for a five-figure release if I don’t actually write and release the book, right? The work comes first (the lead indicator), the riches come second (the lag indicator).

Author: M.L. Humphrey

M.L. Humphrey is a former securities regulator, registered stockbroker (although only briefly), and consultant on regulatory and risk-related matters for large financial institutions with expertise in the areas of anti-money laundering regulation, mutual funds, and credit rating agencies. Since 2013 M.L. has also been a published author under a variety of pen names and across a variety of subjects and genres. You can contact M.L. at mlhumphreywriter [at]

2 thoughts on “You Have to Do the Work”

  1. Utterly true that working toward a goal creates the best chance of achieving it—either through pure graft or through having a better basis to recognise and exploit whatever good luck does occur.

    Another perspective I find helpful on “lottery wins” is that of non-standard win conditions: lots of people think they want to be extremely rich or very famous, but is that actually what they want or only what they think they want? For example, I don’t actually want a lot of money because pieces of paper and discs of metal aren’t that useful; what I (and I suspect most people) want is a collection of tools that are much easier to get if one has lots of money, and the specific set of tools I want is probably very different from a random other person.

    So, you can save yourself the stress of working toward the equivalent of a lottery win by realising your goals might not actually require that level of barter-wealth anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The point I was trying to make wasn’t about the amount of money involved but about how sitting around waiting to be struck by luck is unlikely to turn out well whereas I can get to where I want if I just keep working at it. In that same conversation with my brother we also talked about how if I won the lottery I’d actually sell my current house and buy a smaller one, something I can’t do right now because of current income and market conditions.


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