Excerpted from here’s how by who’s who, a compilation of messages from successful men. The following article was written by Lawrence Welk in 1965.
I am deeply honored by the invitation to contribute to this book and happy to have the privilege of expressing some strongly felt, though not entirely original convictions. I know it may seem presumptuous of me to add to the millions of words of wisdom which have been directed at youth throughout the ages. I realize that advice to the young has always been a plentiful commodity.
I firmly believe that the secret of success is work —hard work. As I said, this idea is not very original and among certain people today it is considered pretty trite, old-fashioned, and “corny” (an adjective, by the way, with which we are quite familiar). Now that I have mentioned the rather distasteful word, “work,” perhaps I should elaborate somewhat. There is little to be gained by working just enough to “get by,” to “meet the quota,” to “put in your time.” The worker who has the best chance of getting ahead is the one who comes early, leaves late, gives that little extra, enjoys what he is doing and performs his duties with a happy and contented mind.
An example from our own business, in fact, from our own organization, illustrates my point. A couple of years ago we were looking for a young dance couple to add to our TV show. Many couples auditioned for the job, some of them exceptionally talented and personable youngsters. The ultimate winners were a boy and girl from Long Beach, California: Barbara Boylan and Bobby Burgess. They won over several teams who appeared more talented and more professional. Their winning secret was to be found in that “little extra.” Barbara and Bobby worked like beavers, perfecting new routines to show us. They obtained copies of our latest recordings and practiced day and night for weeks dancing to these numbers. Their enterprise, initiative and their obvious love for what they were doing gained them a break. They have more than vindicated our judgment and continue to maintain the same spirit now that their job is secure.
I would strongly advise any young man or woman today to beware the “something for nothing” philosophy so prevalent in today’s society. The longer you live the more you will realize that such a phenomenon does not exist. Everything has a price and everything worthwhile must be earned to be thoroughly meaningful and completely appreciated. The easy way, the handout, the fast buck are usually illusions and are more apt to be stumbling blocks than short cuts on the road to prosperity.
Finally, I should recommend that every youngster set himself a goal in life. I have seen potentially successful men in the entertainment business and elsewhere fritter away a large part of their lives, simply for a lack of an objective. Set your eye and your heart on this goal, work for it, work cheerfully and give it that little extra and with God’s [grace], you’ll make it.