Put Your Back Into It: From the Book \”Unstoppable Success\”


The English term, “relentless,” must be understood correctly. It does not mean simply to keep doing something. The term speaks of intensity of effort.

Once, I provided a reference for a young lady who applied for a job at a local church. She got the job. Later, her supervisor at the church complained to me that the young lady was always on time and did whatever she asked her to do, but she took no initiative to go the extra mile. In fact, she would do what she was told, but her mind seemed to be in another place. In other words, she was doing what she was “supposed to do,” but she wasn’t doing it relentlessly.

Relentlessness means to go the extra mile, to do the job with your heart rather than simply to go through the motions. Some people seem to misconstrue the necessity of resting in God and the equal need of working hard. One should not cancel out the other. God gives us seven days in a week: six to work and one to rest. While resting is holy and essential to faith and personal success, resting does not constitute a “qué sera, sera” (whatever will be, will be) attitude. If we want results, we must have a strong work ethic, and we must pray without ceasing.

As teenagers, my oldest brother and I were close to our granddad. For a few weeks, granddad needed to clear off some land that he owned so that my uncle could put a house on the land. Being old school, granddad thought that, with my brother’s and my help, we could clear the few trees and remove the bulk of the debris from the land.

It was summertime. So, granddad would wake up early in the morning—as he always did before he retired from the Georgia Rehabilitation Center (GRC)—to pick up my brother Duke and me by 5am. He wanted to work at the property and gain progress before it got too hot in the day. To do this, he needed us to be up and ready to work hard. He did not need sleepy-headed boys out there, pretending to work, nor did he need alert boys lackadaisically going through the motions. Although we were teenagers at the time, granddad wanted us to take up the axe or the chain saw like a full-grown man. He had a goal to reach. So, granddad wanted us to put our backs into chopping down the trees.

Success is not just committing to going through the right motions. Success requires that we apply all of our weight, energy, muscle-strength, and effort necessary to do the job as best as we can. This type of relentless persistence defines what it means to “put your back into it.” If you are going to go to college, study intensely. If you are going to be an athlete, practice with all of your might. If you are going to be a teacher, prepare the best you can. Whatever you do, don’t just go through the motions. If anyone is going to succeed in a thing, one must give it their all. In other words, “Put your back into it!”

Dr. Antipas L. Harris
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