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Aw Son, Just HIT the Thing

These days my work is mostly on the ... But there's one ... that I use nearly every day. And I learned it from my dad almost 40 years ago in a very ... line of work.My father ran a p

These days my work is mostly on the Internet. But there's
one principle that I use nearly every day.

And I learned it from my dad almost 40 years ago in a very
different line of work.

My father ran a plumbing shop in the competitive western
Chicago suburbs. Now and then, when a man didn't show up or
called in sick, he'd ask me to fill in for one or another of
his regular laborers. I wasn't union, but apparently it was
okay. He had friends.

One day he set me to work breaking a concrete floor. We had
to chip out the cement around a drain, replace it, and
trowel in new cement to seal it.

Now, you need to understand. My father was built like a tree
stump, while I ran more along the lines of beanpole. I was
not his favorite worker because I "thought too much and
wasn't very strong."

This floor breaking job was not the kind of work I enjoyed.
It involved holding a cold chisel and swinging a five-pound
baby sledge hammer at it really hard. Often my aim was bad
so the hammer missed the chisel and slammed into my wrist

About ten minutes after he put me to work breaking the
floor, dad came back, expecting to find the job completed.
It wasn't.

"Son, just what the heck have you been doing all this time?"

"Well, dad," I told him proudly, "I figured out a good way
to do this more safely. I just tap the chisel and move it,
tap it and move it. I'm generating a circle of shock waves
down into the concrete. That way, it'll break along the
lines and I won't hurt my wrist again."

Dad gave me a truly worried look. He said, "Aw son, just HIT
the thing."

Well, I did hit it then. And the job only took five more
minutes to finish. Oddly enough, even though I managed to
hammer my hand two or three times, I was proud that I'd just
gone ahead and done it.

Of course, Dad did practice what he preached. He had a whole
quart jar on his dresser at home filled with broken watches
that he'd smashed doing exactly what he was advising me to
do. He kept them as a reminder, he said, that if you'll just
go ahead and do the job, you can afford to buy all the
watches you need.

But the lesson I learned that day has never left me.

And even today, nearly 40 years later, when I'm tapping
tentatively away on the edges of some job or other, trying
to launch a new website without making any mistakes, or
trying to figure out which script I need to install but I'm
reluctant to invest the time to just install one and see
what it does, I still sometimes hear my father's voice:

"Aw son, just HIT the thing."

When I hear that, I have to grin because he's still urging
me to take action, be less cautious. Just go ahead and get
the job doneScience Articles, never mind the bumps and bruises.

And that's not a bad lesson to carry through life.

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Charles Burke is the author of "Command More Luck," a book
offering powerful suggestions for getting more cooperation
from life, luck, and your own mind, especially in uncertain
times. Whether you call it synchronicity, serendipity, or
just plain old luck, you CAN become more "naturally lucky."
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