Of Wolves and Ravens: Industriousness: Focused Effort

Happy Tyr’s Day


Industriousness is probably one of the Nine Noble Virtues (NNV) that makes things happen the most.  The other is discipline.  There are three elements to industriousness: 1) Hard work, 2) Efficiency and 3) Joy. Each of these elements must be present for their to be true industriousness, but there is one factor that must also be present for them to be useful – Focus.

What are you working for? It is the basic question of industriousness and it is both a deeply personal question and one of ethics and morals. Now I agree with Ayn Rand that there is a virtue to selfishness.  However, most people fail to read her other half of that which is that selfishness does not include exploitation of others.  The issue is what goal are you trying to achieve with your work and are your efforts actually focused in getting it done.  Along the way are you being efficient and joyful.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

Needs (Geri):

We need to work hard.  It is the simple fact that no level of self-sufficiency is achieved without hard work.  Survival depends on work and the harder we work, the easier it is to survive. If there is any tragedy to life is it some people have developed the notion that success in life is a trick or scam that people pull on others.  Anymore who has actually studied the rich and successful will note these two things: 1) Most of them didn’t inherit anything from anybody and 2) They worked long hours and hard days to get where they are today.  They came to understand that industriousness does indeed reward those that work hard.

Wants (Freki):

We also want to enjoy the fruits of our labors. This is the product of learning to enjoy working.  To enjoy work in and of itself. It is also a sad tragedy that people have come to see leisure as something to be enjoyed, while work is something to dread. To me there is a joy in creation of something that didn’t exist before. I mean every day I start with a blank digital page in front of me and in often less than an hour there is a blog post.  There is a joy in this that is good for me. But that carries over to all things. Whether it is business or art, the joy of creation is in the industry of creation.

Reason (Huginn):

Reason of course, helps our focus with one thing – efficiency.  I mean as much as one can come to enjoy work, part of being industriousness and being focused is to not waste effort. Economics comes in here with its focus on getting the most efficient way to get the maximum results. This issue is finding the greatest prosperity for the minimal effort.  Then, however you also realize that more efficient effort (working hard) will bring even more prosperity because of the extra effort. The more efficient you are in working hard the more prosperity is brought to yourself.

Wisdom (Muninn):

Wisdom comes in to this discussion in the idea that the fruits are the reward and that such fruits are not the result of exploiting others for gain.  In fact wisdom makes you realize that the greatest amount of joy, efficiency and effort will come from looking to benefit more than yourself  When others join your efforts because it benefits them as well, that is far better than when they work to slow you down because you are exploiting them and so they resist.  It is better to look at ways every one benefits, so that greater things can be achieved than you can alone.


I have learned a tremendous amount from looking at this virtue.  I have always tried to have a good work ethic. The issue has been constantly ‘what am I working for?’  Industriousness has allowed me to address that question.  I need to work to be self-sufficient. I want to work because there is a joy in creation.  I reason my way to be more efficient in my work to get the most out of my efforts. I work not just for myself but for others to achieve even greater things. Industriousness is focused effort toward certain goals and this is what makes it a very powerful and active virtue.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


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