Success followed predictable and distinct patterns of behavior. An important principle of success in all walks of life and in all occupations is a willingness to ” Go The Extra Mile “; which means the rendering of more and better service than that for which one is paid, and giving it in a positive mental attitude.
It develops the important quality of personal initiative. It develops self-reliance and courage. It serves to build the confidence of others in one’s integrity. It aids the mastery of the destructive habit of procrastination.
The privilege always of rendering an “overplus” of service is a means of accumulating a reserve credit of goodwill, and to provide a just reason for demanding more pay, a better position, or both. Every position based upon a salary or wages provides one with an opportunity to advance himself by the application of this principle.
Any practice of philosophy which deprives a man of the privilege of going the extra mile is unsound and doomed to failure, for it is obvious that this principle is the stepping-stone of major importance by which an individual may receive compensation for extraordinary skill, experience, and education; and it is the one principle which provides the way of self-determination, regardless what occupation, profession or calling the individual may be engaged in.
Verily it pays to go the extra mile, for every time an individual does so he places someone else under obligation to him. No one is compelled to follow the habit of going the extra mile, and seldom is anyone ever requested to render more service than that for which he is paid. Therefore, if the habit is followed it must be adopted on one’s own initiative.
In American system rewards and bonuses are provided for those who follow this habit and makes it impossible for a man to adopt the habit without receiving appropriate compensation. The compensation may come in many different forms. Increased pay is a certainty. Voluntary promotions are inevitable. Favorable working conditions and pleasant human relationships are assured. And these lead to economic security, which a man may attain on his own merits.
There is still another benefit to being gained by the man who follows the habit of going the extra mile: It keeps him on good terms with his own conscience and serves as a stimulant to his own soul! Therefore, it is a builder of sound character, which has no equal in any other human habit. You who have young boys and girls growing into adulthood might well remember this for their sake!
Teach a child the benefits of rendering more service and better service than that which is customary and you will have made contributions of character to that child which will serve him or her all through life.
However, the worker who renders this type of service may not always receive appropriate compensation from the person to whom he renders the service, but this habit will attract to him many opportunities for self-advancement among them new and more favorable sources of employment.
His pay will come to him directly. If you serve an ungrateful master serve him the more. Put God in your debt. Every stroke shall be repaid. The longer the payment is withheld, the better for you, for compound interest on compound interest is the rate and usage of this exchequer”. Speaking once more in terms that seem paradoxical, be reminded that the most profitable time a man devotes to labor is that for which he receives no direct or immediate financial compensation.
For it must be remembered that there are two forms of compensation available to the man who works for wages. One is the wages he receives in money. The other is the skill he attains from his experiences; a form of compensation which often exceeds monetary remuneration, for skill and experience are the worker’s most important stock in trade through which he may promote himself to higher pay and great responsibilities. The attitude of the man who follows the habit of going the extra mile is this. He recognizes the truth that he is receiving pay for schooling himself for a better position and greater pay!
This is an asset of which no worker can be cheated, no matter how selfish or greedy his immediate employer may be. It is the “compound interest on compound interest” which Emerson mentioned. Thus we see that no matter how we view the principle of going the extra mile, we come always to the same answer, that it pays “compound interest” to all that follow the habit. No one ever does anything voluntarily without a motive. Verily it pays to go the extra mile. There is something about this habit of doing more than one is paid for which works in one’s behalf even while he sleeps. Once it begins to work, it piles up riches so fast that it seems like queer magic which, like Aladdin’s Lamp, draws to one’s aid an army of genies, which come laden with bags of gold.
Thus, it is peculiar how opportunities have a way of trailing the people who make it their business to go the extra mile, but they do very definitely.