Mike Rowe's 12-Point Pledge Solves Life's Big Problems

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Mike Rowe has drawn attention lately for a voiceover he did for a Walmart ad campaign called "Work Is a Beautiful Thing." His support of a big corporation received mixed reviews, since he's always been viewed as an advocate for the little guy. But the former "Dirty Jobs" host responded to critics, clarifying that he's neither a supporter of the little guy nor the big guy -- but a supporter of hard work.

We wanted to look closer at what Rowe means by hard work in his SWEAT Pledge, which stands for Skill & Work Ethic Aren't Taboo. Regardless of your feelings about the Walmart (WMT) ad campaign, we think you'll find it refreshing to read his pledge. Outlined below are its 12 statements, with our thoughts added.

1. I believe that I have won the greatest lottery of all time. I am alive. I walk the Earth. I live in America. Above all things, I am grateful.
2. I believe that I am entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing more. I also understand that "happiness" and the "pursuit of happiness" are not the same thing. They're not? Shoot! So we're not entitled to happiness. But we're entitled to working as hard as we can to achieve it? I'm down with that.
3. I believe there is no such thing as a "bad job." I believe that all jobs are opportunities, and it's up to me to make the best of them.
4. I do not "follow my passion." I bring it with me. I believe that any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm. In other words, our jobs don't define us. We define what kind of worker we are in any given profession.
5. I deplore debt, and do all I can to avoid it. I would rather live in a tent and eat beans than borrow money to pay for a lifestyle I can't afford. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%How many of us can honestly say this? (Slowly puts hand down.) Imagine the problems that would be solved if we all felt this way (including you, Uncle Sam).
6. I believe that my safety is my responsibility. I understand that being in "compliance" does not necessarily mean I'm out of danger.
7. I believe the best way to distinguish myself at work is to show up early, stay late and cheerfully volunteer for every crappy task there is. That is, work your you-know-what off, burn the midnight oil and all that good stuff. Don't look for shortcuts on the path to success.
8. I believe the most annoying sounds in the world are whining and complaining. I will never make them. If I am unhappy in my work, I will either find a new job or find a way to be happy.
9. I believe that my education is my responsibility and absolutely critical to my success. I am resolved to learn as much as I can from whatever source is available to me. I will never stop learning and understand that library cards are free.
10. I believe that I am a product of my choices -- not my circumstances. I will never blame anyone for my shortcomings or the challenges I face. And I will never accept the credit for something I didn't do. Of course! Pshhh ... none of us would ever do this. The truth is, in the game of life, we've all been dealt different hands. But it's up to us what we make of them.
11. I understand the world is not fair, and I'm OK with that. I do not resent the success of others. Looking to the Joneses doesn't help us. If we can turn that resentment into inspiration, we'll be much better for it.
12. I believe that all people are created equal. I also believe that all people make choices. Some choose to be lazy. Some choose to sleep in. I choose to work my butt off. Amen. I'll start waking up early ... tomorrow.

I don't know about you, but Johnny and I are kind of in love with this pledge. How much time have we wasted complaining? Well, let's not go there. But what if all that time had been spent working our butts off? Mike, we don't have an opinion one way or the other about your Walmart voiceover. But the SWEAT Pledge? What a better place we'd live in if we all signed it.

Joanna and Johnny are the writing duo behind OurFreakingBudget.com, a personal finance blog documenting the joys, pains and realities of living on a budget.

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Originally published