“To learn how to enjoy work, we must ask ourselves a deeper question why do we work.”
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Do we want to spend one-third of our life in sadness, despair, misery and frustration? If the answer is an obvious no, then we need to find ways of making our work a joy, for one-third of our life is spent at work or preparing for it. It is not only one-third of life we must realize the impact of the one-third on the remaining two-third of life. If work has to be joyful, then we must do what we enjoy doing. As the old saying goes if you enjoy your work, you do not have to work. To learn how to enjoy work, we must ask ourselves a deeper question why do we work.
Why do we work?
Whenever I asked this question, people think that it is a redundant one. But let us realize that work is much more than making money. In this context, we tend to think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The question then is whether we work because we need money, name, fame, status or do we work to satisfy our inner calling, or to contribute towards humanity?
Interestingly, whatever might be our drive or need, work is our means to achieve the same.
Work is our way to make money, to learn, to express our talents, to have a social interaction, to attain status, to earn respect and so on. When work can give us so much, then our outlook towards work must be that of joy!
Work and Joy of Living!
If we define what gives us joy, then we can recognize that we tend to use work as a means to joyful living. Also, if we understand what drives us to work, we will automatically be able to identify the factors that do not drive us to work. Such understanding will help analyse the reasons for dissatisfaction with work.
Imagine the internal dilemma that one faces after a few years of working what am I doing this for? Is this all for money? Fame? Status? Is it really worth my lifetime? Then dawns the `proper selfishness’ in the words of Charles Handy.They discover themselves, realign their work and move towards joyful living. They have succeeded in making a mid course correction to their life strategy.
On the contrary, imagine the plight of those who put this question to themselves a little late in their life. They hardly have an opportunity to redefine the meaning of their work. They end up cursing work, hating their boss and organisation, waiting for weekend and so on. It simply means that they have decided to spend one – third of life only to make money and foregoing the opportunity to derive joy of living!
What should one do?
Gaining deeper understanding of oneself, articulating personal vision, and remaining goal focused are necessary to embark on a purposeful and joyful living. Individuals may seek professional advice on these aspects to lay a solid foundation to their work. Individuals should also be conscious of other factors that may induce oscillation of thoughts. Seeing success through others’ lens or redefining success from time to time will surely dither the pursuit of joyful working. It does not mean that one needs to be rigid in one’s own definition of goals or means, but any redefinition has to be triggered out of greater self awareness rather than getting generated out of comparison or jealousy! A deep conviction in the vision and strong will power to realize the vision are necessary to overcome any hurdles in the process.
Individuals who are able to align work with joyful living are the ones who experience a sense of fulfillment. They are most likely to skip the feeling of emptiness towards the fag end of their lives. The earlier one excavates one’s own drive to work, the better vision towards life. Cases of running after wrong targets will be minimized. We will have individuals who are lot more contented; yet achieving what they wanted. After all, joyful living is what one defines for oneself.
Work is a vehicle to pursue the journey of joyful living! It is a sure way of tuning right attitude towards work!
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