The trap of theoretical thinking is that it very often leads to little or no action. It is by definition, thinking based on theory, not practical application. Somehow, at some point in time, “work” has become a dirty word. The idealised lifestyle portrayed through social media and television of having no stress, instant fame, and easy money, is incredibly alluring to our entitlement minded society. There are countless sources out there ready to tell anyone who’s listening that to live a happy and abundant life, they should quit their boring, unfulfilling jobs and float around on the ethereal wave of positive thinking until they find their true life purpose. I have unfortunately come across many video’s on social media with dramatic depictions of unhappy people who are struggling to find meaning in their mundane day – to – day existence. The sad part is, that most people who watch these dramatic clips actually “like” and “share” them with all their friends without giving it a second thought, further perpetuating the feeling of dissatisfaction with how things are.
I remember watching such a video not too long ago, and my thoughts were, “Wow, this guy talks a lot but he does’t say much.” Then I began thinking about everything he was saying and theorising about. His idea was that putting in a full day of work was a dreadful thing that would inevitably get out of control and destroy or get in the way of important relationships. I’m sorry, but I believe in work. Not only do I believe in work, but I believe in working smart and working hard. I believe in doing the very best work you can do, no matter what that work may be. I was raised by a single mother, an immigrant to boot, and she worked very hard. She cleaned homes and offices day and night so that we could have food on the table. My mother’s hands were always rough and calloused. Every time I looked at her hands, I knew how much she loved me. I always tell my kids and their friends, “It’s good to be good, but you have to be good for something.” Things don’t just happen, work is required for everything.
“Thank God every morning when you get up, that you have something to do that day which must be done, whether you like it or not. 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 never know.” –Charles Kingsley
Another thing that was brought up in the video was that stressing over meetings and dead lines was detrimental. Although anyone will agree that severe stress and anxiety is not good for our health and well being, a certain degree of stress and learning to meet deadlines is not harmful. I have found that anything new that we are learning to do naturally adds a degree of stress to our lives, even good things can add stress. It has always been the times when I have had to learn something new, or to do something that I would not have naturally considered doing that I have grown the most. When we say yes to challenging situations, we give ourselves the opportunity to grow and develop in ways we never thought possible. When we find ourselves in hard places, whether we put ourselves there or not, we can learn to move past the discomfort, we can find solutions, we can be creative, we can learn and we can grow stronger and become wiser. We can do hard things. When it comes to nurturing our relationships with others and balancing that with the demands of work, it would serve us all well to remember that all of life is about relationships. Set very specific priorities. Schedule a date night with your spouse, once a week for the rest of your lives together. Don’t let anything interfere with that date night. Also, schedule one night a week to spend together as a family, doing something you all enjoy. It doesn’t have to cost money and you don’t even have to leave the house. It can be as simple as playing games together. This is something that every member of the family needs to commit to. Don’t let anything, not homework, meetings, or extra curricular activities interfere with your time together. Make time to gather around the kitchen table and eat together as often as possible. These simple things will strengthen your bond with those that are most important to you and will build character and produce cherished memories. If you must work a little extra or a little later on other days, it’s okay. Your relationships will be intact, and you will have a strong network of love and support from which you can draw strength from. If your family knows you love them, they will be more than happy to sustain and support you through anything.
“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” – – Alan Cohen
Something that needs to be addressed when people are feeling overwhelmed by the daily grind is, what are you working for? Are you working to provide for the needs and necessities of life, or are you working for the wants? The happiest people are usually those who live well below their means and know how to manage the money and resources they have properly.
It is helpful to visualise and have a clear picture in mind about what each of us wants out of life, but beyond that, we must be propelled into action. We must work diligently, we must learn and apply. We must never remain in the stagnant trap of just wishing ourselves happy, or wealthy, or successful. We must become, we must manifest our desires by doing. That requires work.