“So much of unhappiness, it seems to me, is due to nerves; and bad nerves are the result of having nothing to do, or doing a thing badly, unsuccessfully or incompetently. Of all the unhappy people in the world, the unhappiest are those who have not found something they want to do. True happiness comes to those who do their work well, followed by a refreshing period of rest. True happiness comes from the right amount of work for the day.” – Lin Yutang
There are many people who link unhappiness to not having enough to do, or to having a lot to do but not getting any joy out of it. A person who works on an assembly line, for example, may have plenty of work to do every day, but may put into his or her work the bare minimum of effort necessary to get by. And this is understandable–after all, how creative can one get while working on an assembly line, doing the same work every day?
But when we are busy, it is up to us whether that time is well spent or poorly spent. I spent a number of my teenage years detassling corn in the summer holidays. This work was extremely redundant and tiring, but I tried to look at it as helping out those who were detassling with me. I additionally found it enjoyable to be outdoors enjoying the fresh air and nature, as I now spend most of my days indoors in an office.
We decide whether the work we do is done very well, or just to the least of our abilities. If we want to be happy, it seems, it is necessary for us to see the work that we do as important, and then to treat it as if it were truly important. We all cannot be doing only what we want to do all of the time–if I were able to do so, I would have spent my whole life absorbed in my hobbies of playing tennis, jogging, and collecting rocks. But that is not where my life has led me, and that is not what is demanded of me from life. So I spend most of my time doing my work, and trying to do it to the best of my abilities–for myself, and for the sake of the people I am responsible for.
This attitude allows me to be at peace and to find fulfillment in my work. I do not come home feeling as if I have wasted a day, or as if my work has no meaning. All work has meaning. And if we do our work well, we add to the lives of those who are touched by the work we do. By always keeping this in mind… we can avoid letting our nerves get the best of us.
Find happiness in the work you do daily.
Questions to consider:
How often do you put all that you have at any given moment into your work?
What kind of good things do you see in your work?
What would it feel like to have no work to do, ever?
For further thought:
“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson