Do you ever not feel like making that 20 mile or so round trip commute to work. What if you had to no car and didn’t live near a bus stop? Would you walk? James Robertson did just that. In fact, for the last ten years Robertson has walked to and from his factory job in Detroit. Round-trip he hikes a near marathon each day – twenty one miles – through some less-than-friendly parts of the city. There are all kinds of legitimate reasons to miss a day of work – you get sick, the weather turns south, and sometimes life just gets in the way. Yet Robertson has a perfect attendance record.
To complete the quote, “Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Robertson is a great example of this. Everyday he goes above and beyond what most people would do for a job just by showing up. To me, James Robertson is a hero. Someone kids can look up to and say, “that’s who I want to be when I grow up.”
People like Robertson are rare these days. Why is that? Couldn’t more people do what he does? When we hear the word “hero”, we typically don’t think of someone like Robertson. We usually envision a superhero figure or a someone who does a single heroic act like saving someone from an oncoming train, or rescuing someone from a raging river. These types of heroes are important, don’t get me wrong, but, not everyone has the courage, the physical aptitude, or the opportunity to perform such a heroic act. On the other hand, anyone can be James Robertson. All it takes is drive.
So, how do you find that drive? Find happiness in your job. Aristotle also said, “Happiness depends upon ourselves”. You may have a boring, dirty, exhausting job that no one else in their right mind would ever choose to do. That’s okay. Not everyone can be a professional athlete or a movie star. Take pride in what you do, show up on time, and strive to be the best at what you do. Do this everyday for the next ten years and you will be happy. In my mind, you’ll also be a hero, just like James Robertson.