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Work worth doing

When I was a child, my dad would often spout a bit of homespun wisdom at me: “A job worth doing is worth doing well,” he would say. Sometimes he would even quote a little poem:

If a task is once begun,

Never leave it ‘til it’s done.

Be the labor great or small,

Do it well or not at all.

It is therefore probably my dad’s fault, as much as it is anyone’s, that I chose to take my firearms training seriously. As a new shooter, interested in self defense, I had this gut-level conviction that if a thing was not shameful to do, there was no shame in doing it well. I had an equally strong conviction that if it was worth doing at all, it was worth learning how to do it right.

And underlying all that was a deep, visceral horror at the thought of getting a life-or-death decision wrong – of losing my life to my own lack of foresight, of hurting or killing someone who did not need to be hurt or killed, of making a mistake that would reverberate down the edges of my children’s and grandchildren’s lives forever.

Not everyone feels such things, I understand. Yet for me, the ethics of owning guns of course includes a commitment to using them appropriately, safely, and – if necessary – effectively. This goes back to the idea that things worth doing are worth doing well. If it is worth protecting myself and my family (and it absolutely is!), then it is worth doing the work it will take to become good at it.

6 Responses to Work worth doing

  1. Old NFO says:

    Those are words to live by in ANY endeavor, but especially in shooting.

  2. RabidAlien says:

    Went to an interview for a department management position in the retail world once, and one of the questions was “how do you feel about your employees standing around talking?” Threw the store manager for a loop when I looked her in the eye and said “oh, I’m all for it!” Then proceeded to explain that I have something of a lazy streak in me. So I prefer to get all of the tasks for the day done, correctly, first thing. I despise busy-work. So if something needs to be done, get it done. Get it done right. Then stand around and chit-chat until there are customers to be taken care of. Heh. The store manager loved that response! District manager turned me down for the position, though…apparently being the best salesguy in the region means you’ll never be anything other than a salesguy. Stupid politics.

    • Love that story (though not the ending) and your response. Thanks for sharing it!

      • RabidAlien says:

        No worries! Actually had an assistant manager laugh in my face when I broached the subject of applying for a management position. Apparently if you’re good at selling stuff, they want you to sell, not to manage. Got out of that corporate-run-retail-environment back in ’09, and haven’t missed a day of it since.

  3. mgutterres says:

    Excellent points. As a corollary I’d like to add, how good is “good enough?” Answer, we are never “good enough” and need to be constantly looking at how we can be better at shooting, self defense, et cetera.

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