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Diligence is your best chance at winning life's challenges


Last updated 3/14/2019 at 9:49pm

In life, rarely is anything worth having easily or immediately achieved. Sure, you may experience an immediate reward from time to time — winning the lottery is the obvious example here — but you did not do much, if anything, to earn that reward.

Rather, the rewards achieved through hard work over extended periods of time are the most fulfilling. It is through diligence — defined as “steady, earnest, and energetic effort; persevering application” — that we find the most rewarding and fulfilling work.

A word used in pop culture that seems on its surface to mean the same as “diligence” is “grind.” However, the difference between grind and diligence is that grind infers more monotonous work — “the 9-to-5 grind” — while diligence infers work done with energy and enthusiasm. Grind is diligence without passion.

Another popular word right now in our culture is “grit,” which is a much better synonym for diligence than grind could ever be. Grit is passion and perseverance to achieve goals over long periods of time, which is in the same vein as diligence.

In my career, the most rewarding and fulfilling accomplishments were achieved through diligence. When I was named Eastern Washington University’s head football coach in 2017, I had been coaching football for 17 years overall and 16 at EWU.

When we won our 10th Big Sky Conference championship in 2018 (my first Big Sky championship as a head coach) and reached the NCAA Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision national championship, I’d been coaching for 18 years overall, 17 at EWU, and one as the head coach. Not every day of my coaching career has been fun and enjoyable, but I’ve done my best to approach every day with energy, enthusiasm and perseverance. In the end, diligent work pays off.

Diligence is also not only applied over the long-term. Yes, it can be applied over the course of your career, but it can also be applied over the course of a shorter period of time — in our profession, over the course of a season. It is imperative to approach every day with diligence, even if every day is not enjoyable.

We talk a lot with our team at Eastern Washington about overcoming adversity in football, over the course of a season and especially in life. Adversity can and will strike in football and in life at any time. Instead of worrying about what the issue is or being stuck on the issue, we work on identifying the issue, finding solutions and moving forward. Practicing diligence in your life allows you to overcome adversity in any form it may present itself.

Perhaps the best part of diligence is it doesn’t discriminate. Diligence welcomes all and turns away none.

You can employ diligence in your life regardless of your background, age or social standing. Our football team at Eastern Washington is made up of 18-23-year-old young men from all backgrounds and upbringings. Diligence doesn’t guarantee us any victories on the field or any victories in life (it’s not a guaranteed formula), but it gives us a better chance than most.

Aaron Best has been a member of the Cheney community since 1996 when he first came to Eastern Washington University. He played four seasons for the Eagles, was named an assistant coach in 2000 under former head coach Paul Wulff and became Eastern’s 21st head coach in 2017.


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