The Purpose of Hard Work

Think About It

If one does not derive pleasure or satisfaction from the process there is little to no chance he or she may find joy in the final accomplishment. There may be a lingering sense of happiness, perhaps an eagerness for a new project, but in the finished product, that person will not find joy. 

What I mean to say is that if we do not value the work we put into something we love to do — if we do not prize the sweat developed from the workout, then the truth is that we are not seeking joy from purpose but joy from accomplishments. The danger here is that we are only satisfied when things are done or satisfied for only a short time with a finished product. 

Track on my mind.

If our initial goal is to develop a six-pack, sculpt our shoulders, broaden our quads, and enlarge our pectoral muscles and we succeed in all these, one may wonder, for how long we’ll manage to maintain this status of euphoria. It is said that those who are able to attain a high level of physical fitness and physique are not those who have an ultimate goal or plan but more so those who value the process. The determined soul is more content with an endless journey than the ones with deadlines and finish lines. 

If one does not derive pleasure or satisfaction from the process there is little to no chance he or she may find joy in the final accomplishment.

What, then, is the purpose of hard work? Is it merely for us to merit or benefit from something? Are we hopelessly at the mercy of finished things instead of gracefully appreciating the processes of unfinished businesses? 

Will life not end, unexpectedly one day? Not if but when that day comes do we believe we will out of some miraculous Herculean effort have accomplished and fulfilled every goal ever established and written down? Will we be content with every meeting we have ever engaged in and ended? Will we have had enough sit-downs with our children — enough to make them like us back? Will every task have been accomplished? Most of them at least? 

We know the answers and that may trouble some of us because we’re more caught up on finishing things that have no end than we are in enjoying the things, rather, the memories that will live on without end. 

The ultimate purpose of hard work is that in the process of it one finds enjoyment and fulfillment, that is if what you are working hard at, is, in fact, what you love to do. 

If you find yourself working yourself to death or just short of it and equally miserable about it, perhaps it is time to step away from that effort and place your energy elsewhere. 

I am not suggesting pragmatism for practice’s sake, for even practical things become impractical with time. Nor am I promoting existentialism for idealists stuck in a creative bind, for even existentialists end up extinct, and with them, their ideas. 

What I suggest is that you step away from the meritocracy that we have come to prize so much. it’s cyclical absurdism for profit. No, not your profit. I suggest you step into a more simple life — one that is more fulfilling than it is financially enriching. 

If you write, then enjoy the creative nature of the process and work hard at it. You’ll find, as have I, that there is pleasure and peace derived from the process even though the final product may be fleeting. No great body of work was or is ever complete. We have editors to thank for that. But when the author is content with the process, with the production, with the direction of words and ideas, then the ultimate work is of lesser import because the writer attained that which many of us pursue but never lay grasp of — joy. 

So, find what you love to do, make time for it, work hard at it, and enjoy the process. 

It’s 1:00 AM on a Monday night so I have to get to sleep now because in five hours or so I have to go about working hard to accomplish something concrete and conclusive, something of merit and benefit, for someone else. 

What a bore.

Know the difference. 

Currently Reading

A man wants to earn money in order to be happy, and his whole effort and the best of a life are devoted to the earning of that money. Happiness is forgotten; the means are taken for the end. Albert Camus

Featured Image by Matt Howard.

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