In our final installment of 45 Things to Live Well we explore the theme of work. Despite popular opinion, work is a healthy and worthwhile endeavour. We do need to remember that balance is key as we need to learn to work to live instead of living to work. Work can be an important part of your life - our professional life allows us to grow and be challenged is a variety of ways but not in every way. Family, liesure, faith, artistic expression and many others can go a long way to rounding out a meaningful life.
Ora et Labora (work and pray) - St. Benedict
Find hard work you actually enjoy doing. Confucius said “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I honour my father-in-law because out of a sense of duty he went to work everyday to a job he hated. He did this to provide for his family. It seems that 35 years of doing a job you hate can make for a long career and for this reason it is a healthy idea to look for work that your enjoy and at very least one you can find meaning in.
Realize that the smarter and harder you work, the luckier you will become. Many of us have been around long enough to know that hard work is no guarantee of success but laziness and lack of dedication is a sure recipe for failure! Combining hard work and solid, wise decision making will increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.
Follow your heart. Don’t let you life be consumed by fulfilling someone else’s dreams and desires. This is a bit of a double edged sword. It is very honorable to help others achieve their dreams and goals. To serve others in this way is really quite profound. This can prove to be a very rich training environment and provide some helpful connections as you plan to step out towards your own passions and dreams. In the end, following your heart is much bigger than doing what we want but includes achieving those things in such a way that we are indeed more whole whether we win or lose.
This too shall pass! However good or bad a situation is now, it will change. Accept this simple fact. My Grandma was very fond of this saying raised in tremendous poverty through the dirty 30's. She learned first hand that things do change - sometimes quickly and sometimes it takes some time. She was a big fan of deliberately looking for the change and as much as she was able, participating in healthy ways to the change. It is not simply letting things happen to you but to be present as possible in it even if this was managing her own attitudes and choices.
Keep growing as a person and developing your skills. Muhammad Ali, the iconic Heavy-weight champion once said the person who sees the world at 40 years of age the same way they did at 20 has wasted 20 years of their life! We never arrive at a place in life where we know it all and this simple, seemingly obvious, tidbit should help us realize that each moment of each day is the opportunity to grow, mature and develop. This can include our skills and knowledge as it pertains to our vocation, a hobby or even with respect to significant relationships. This life journey of self development, exploration and discovery combines for a very rich and full life.