Living life is a challenge for the financially fortunate and financially unfortunate alike. For the financially fortunate, itís about how to keep it; for the unfortunate, how to get it. Hard work reaps reward; slothfulness poverty.† The biggest complainers Iíve ever known are those who have nothing because they do nothing. The self-made person with little often looks to those with success for handouts, as if to say, ďYou owe me.Ē They claim their lack of it is linked to othersí plenty.

Iím not saying everyone who lives in poverty chooses it. There are circumstances that keep some down. Iím directing this writing to those who can, but wonít. If you have any self-respect or dignity at all, you will rise to the level of the challenge youíre facing and strive to overcome it. You wonít blame the success of others for your plight. The rich are not your enemy. Those who have made it are, in fact, your hope of getting out of the situation. Thatís my opinion ó and Iím far from being rich (depending on how you measure it). To tax the successful more because of that success makes no sense. Itís like punishing the hammer that hits the nail for holding together the house.

Where would the jobs be without their success? Where would we be as a country if there were not these gifted job creators? They should pay their fair share of taxes ó fair share, not be over taxed or be prejudiced against because they have more than most. They ought to be applauded for their success. How can you not admire folks like Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, and others like him?

Life is a challenge for us all. Still, for most of us, we dictate by our actions how we will fare. I know from personal experiences and observation of those Iíve seen gain success that the key is hard work. The key is having a vision beyond your now circumstance, to see your situation as temporary, to choose not to stay stuck in the mud but to keep pushing forward until youíre free of it.

The key is to show your stuff through hard work when given the opportunity ó not to sit and wait for better days, but to get out there and make things happen. The only work beneath you is the work youíre not willing to do. Iíve done a lot of different types of work in my 58 years. Some Iíve loved, some Iíve hated, but we have never been told when working hard that the opportunity was not appreciated. Thank God for your success. So in todayís economy, whereís the brass ring? Whereís the prize? Itís in being willing to do your best to even take a job you might feel is beneath you. Itís a two-way street: They need you and you need them.

In most cases, if you give your employer the respect due to him or her and show your appreciation through hard, dedicated work, he or she will do the same toward you. And both will be rewarded. Iím not where I was financially a year ago, and I donít know what tomorrow holds for me, but Iím not a sitter or a quitter. Idleness takes you nowhere.

None of us have any control over what those in Washington will do to create better paying jobs and grow this economy, except at the voting booth, and then itís a flip of the coin. But all of us can help strengthen the jobs there are by being willing to work there, and thank God for the employer you have for it.

ó William M. Myers, Ottawa