As someone who really gave it everything when it came to studying or working and not necessarily seeing it as having given me what I wanted, I ran the risk of learning helplessness. Somewhere within me there is a belief that work is a double edged sword. Work is only useful when the direction is right (no physics puns intended). In all honesty though, it really is a vector. I have seen so many people expending so much energy getting nowhere fast. Ray Dalio says that you should only work on the things you really want.
As a true millennial, I didn’t know what I wanted for a long time. Something is telling me that in another 5 years, looking back on this note, I will think: Ha, I though I knew, but I didn’t really. In any case, I have a better idea now than I did five years ago. I recognise what my priorities are. It’s family first and everything else after that.
The learnt helplessness comes in where you finally get the freedom to start again and work on what you really want, but you wonder – is there any point? What if I am wrong again? There’s also a feeling of being spent – having worked so hard in the past, you’re not sure you’ve got the energy anymore. Of course, these beliefs aren’t helpful and luckily they are entirely changeable. I guess I wouldn’t have even ever come close to being aware of them had it not been for mindfulness. The truth is that work is useful when it is in the right direction. Time is going to go by so I may as well put in the work and make a bet on what I believe in. There’s no certainty and no promises, but it is better to always have a direction and therefore a chance at a legacy. The spent thing is nonsense too – you only get stronger from exercising mental muscles through study and work. Past experiences can equally serve as references for one’s ability to succeed regardless of the complexity of the task. After all, there’s always a choice.
2 thoughts on “The value of work”
I think work is absolutely vital for any human who wants to measure him/herself against others and even against themselves. For the workaholic, paychecks are just incidental to the achievement those checks represents.
however; one thing most retirees will tell you is; there’s a massive difference between work and living. And any retiree worth a damned will also tell you that, the difference isn’t readily recognizable until the day you retire.
I was a workaholic, loving every aspect of my job and spending many very late nights working instead of being with family.
Then, one day I woke up to only discovered that my only child, my daughter had graduated high school, college and married.
I was intensely involved with my daughter’s activities – coaching her baseball, basketball, hockey and working with her swim coaches to help train her in her swimming endeavors. But, i suddenly felt that was not enough about ten years ago when she was asking down the aisle, all decked out in her yellow cap and gown and proudly sporting her personal achievement says for her honors class.
Perhaps it would have gone by just as rapidly had I not been a workaholic, but one thing’s for sure – it sent by faster than a lightning strike and I felt I had somehow let her down. It’s not an easy ting to swallow, but it’s a very easy thing to avoid.
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It’s a tough balance for sure!