I have recently been contemplating the word Work a lot and I have been wondering whether the word work conjures the same mental images for you as it does for me? You see, when I think of the word Work, I think of effort and difficulty and…not so much pain, but certainly not ease.
I suppose the term hard work is something that always seems to be repeated over and over so often, to the extent that every time I hear the word Work, hard seems to automatically follow.
And yet if we place the word in context we know that work really should be a positive thing. There really should be excitement and exploration and achievement and fun all great, happy things to be related to work.
It’s easy to see why the majority of us have trained ourselves to believe that work is not pleasant. So many people feel that they are stuck in jobs that they need to work at in order to pay the bills and provide for their family, work is some kind of pain they have to endure so they can have pleasure at other times (weekends, holidays).
So many of us have built this system of punishment in our own heads that we can play only after we suffer the work and yet that way of living is so wrong and leads to so much unhappiness. (Read more about Living with Purpose)
More and more, as I explore life and it’s different options, I am also learning to let go of beliefs that no longer serve me and one of major ones is that only hard work will get me to where I want to go.
Work is hard – only if we perceive it to be so
Truth be told, everything is (always) all a matter of perception, no different from my perception of work. So in trying to change my perceptions of the word work, this is what I’m learning
Set an intention for the work
One thing I have been doing every morning that has been having an amazing impact especially on the things that I dislike doing most (accounting) is setting an intention for the activity before I start it.
How this works is, I first list very briefly what it is that I would like to accomplish or achieve and then how I will feel while carrying out this activity and after the activity is complete.
So for example with Accounting
I need to accomplish – recording weekly transactions and reconciling the months accounts.
I will feel – ease, joy, lightness
I cannot explain why it works, but it certainly does.
This is a method recommended by Abraham Hicks and is called segment intending. You can effectively break down your day and activities in to multiple segments and then describe each of these (not necessarily all of them, but the ones that are most important to you) in terms of how you are aiming feel (Remember the main aim is truly to feel the best that you can).
Find the positives
Perhaps you are feeling stuck in a job that you really dislike and abhor and simply cannot help but feel that it is a chore. Now the deal about how our mind works is that the more we give is messages of dislike and unhappiness, the more it will show up in our lives.
So if this describes you, perhaps for today, or tomorrow, before you even start getting ready for your work day, try and find the positives. You may have to dig deep, or even be extremely vague and general – thoughts or statements like:
My work allows me to earn money to pay for my home and food.
My work is challenging but offers me an opportunity to learn, or perhaps
Through my work, I have met some amazing people.
Whatever you can think of that may give you something positive, no matter how vague or general to think about your work, is good.
Remember things begin to change once our thoughts start to change.
Do what you love
It’s been said countless times, that for as long as you are doing something that you love, it will never feel like work (perhaps this is where the perception of work gets negative).
The fact is, no matter how much you enjoy doing something or are inspired and passionate about a project or a goal, there will always come a time when it starts to feel a bit like a slog. Breaking through this rough patch and getting through to the other side is what the challenge will be about – and focussing on the end goal, will be what pulls you through.
Or do something that you love every day
While not directly related to redefining our perceptions of work, being able to continuously keep in touch with that part of yourself that is able to experience joy doing something is a very important part to lightening the load.
Whether it is cooking a meal, baking, drawing, singing, crafting, writing a story, find some time every day to do something that inspires you. Perhaps you might not have time to bake, but you could keep your interest alive by browsing through inspiring baking books, reading food blogs or even starting your own.
No matter how challenging or difficult your work may be, find a little time every day to light that little flame of inspiration within.
In the end I realised that Work is really what gives purpose to our lives. Earl Nightingale put it perfectly when he summed up his definition of Success:
Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.
In simple terms, Success is continually working (progressive realisation) towards a goal (worthy ideal) and joy in all that you do is there for you.
Over to you…
What does work mean to you? Is your work something that fills you with joy? We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.
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Above all, take care and be happy.