I've declared January 2009 to be my personal "diligence" month, in which I concentrate on the trait of diligence.
Here's what good old Webster's has to say about diligence:
"DILIGENCE, n. [L., to love earnestly; to choose.]
Isn't that interesting that the word for diligence springs from a term that means to love earnestly and to choose. I suppose we take great care of that which we love. As I've quoted before, it's said, "Love is in the details."
Wikipedia says: Diligence is a zealous and careful nature in one's actions and work. Decisive work ethic. Budgeting one's time; monitoring one's own activities to guard against laziness. Putting forth full concentration in one's work.
Charles Kingsley said, "Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle life will never know."
Benjamin Franklin said, "Diligence overcomes difficulties; sloth makes them."
One opposite of diligence is sloth.
Webster's defines slothfulness as "SLOTH'FULNESS, n. The indulgence of sloth; inactivity; the habit of idleness; laziness. Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep. Prov. 19. "
Some people link the quality of slothfulness to sadness Sloth looks like fun in the moment, but it inevitably leads to or springs from a heaviness of spirit. Haven't we all noticed that a cheerful person is generally industrious, while a lazy or idle person feels weighed down? (That's not to say that all cases of depression spring from sloth or lead to sloth.)
So, during January, I am setting my heart on growing in diligence.