Hard work? Bring it on!

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all. -Sam Ewing

I had the good pleasure of spending time with a number of successful business people while travelling this week. I hesitate to call them “hard workers” as each one had the gift of making hard work look easy. They achieved what they had in life because they never turned up their nose or failed to turn up when the whiff of hard work was in the air. In so doing, they were all poised to seize opportunities as they appeared in life.

Richard Bach once said: “The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.” If you’ve ever applied yourself wholeheartedly during a project, pouring your every ounce of mental, physical and emotional capacity into the accomplishment of some goal, you likely know the deep sense of satisfaction that can come from hard work. Even if the project doesn’t turn out as you had hoped or anticipated, the process itself can be deeply rewarding and enriching.

My favorite co-workers are those who effectively blur the line between work and play. Just as there is nothing more inspiring than being with someone who loves to work, no matter what the task at hand may be, the is nothing more draining than to have to spend time working with or for someone who has or expresses absolutely no enthusiasm while playing his part in the world he centers. As a friend of mine mentioned yesterday, “You only have one life to live. Why not enjoy it and make yourself useful?!?”

Another trait that impresses me in every successful person I know is that they unequivocally refuse to use failed attempts as a reason for not pressing on. Thomas Edison said “I’ve not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” How do you view failure? Do you allow yourself to get into slumps? Many slumps are avoidable as they are more often than not caused by emotional overreactions to the discovery of a new (to you) way that something doesn’t work.

Kahlil Gibran observed that “Work is love made visible.” Isn’t that a great description? “Love made visible.” If you allow yourself to love what you do, regardless of the object of your attention, you’ll find that both the carrot and the whip no longer have meaning or control over you. Why judge one type of work as being “easy” and other types as being “hard?” Those value judgments and comparisons tend to be followed by predictable sets of behaviors, feelings and approaches. Love everything you do uniformly and you will find that everything becomes easier, no matter how hard it might have been when it arrived at your doorstep.

Enjoy the last two days of this week and embrace what you do with a fresh perspective. See the work ahead of you as an opportunity to express joy and love – not in an airy-fairy, strained, or false way, but because you recognize that everything that life brings you can be blessed and uplifted by your presence and attention.

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11 thoughts on “Hard work? Bring it on!

  1. Javier

    Haven’t been on the comments lately but I’m still enjoying your blog daily. Couldn’t miss saying “Rock on!” today. Thanks, as always, for the upbeat perspective.

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  2. Andrea

    Love – Love – Love!! Lots to say, but too busy smiling and changing the world. (and it’s even better when those around you don’t have a clue how positively you are affecting them!!!)

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  3. Estelle

    The power to bless and uplift through our presence… Not something anyone can take away from us unless we let them. Thanks for spreading a great attitude – it is contagious!

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  4. Reina

    Love what you do, do what you love! This can not only generate positive results in the world around you but it can extend your life by taking the drudgery out of your day to day activities and infusing it with passion and true creativity. What we do today, if we do it with enthusiasm, pride and yes love, can merely be the stepping stone to a future of greater acheivement! Thanks so much for the reminder that we can choose the attitude that we bring into our work and what a difference it makes!

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  5. Brenda Ruppright

    This reminded me of when we were kids on my grandparents’ dairy farm; when we were small and full of energy, my grandmother would take us kids out in the plowed fields and pick up the rocks. Now that was work but we never knew it, she made a game out of it, who could find the largest rock, who had the biggest pile of rocks, and we were being productive at the same time. (That sure beats putting kids in front of a TV set or video game) She had a knack for doing that with all the chores on the farm, from feeding calves to cleaning the stalls. I never heard a complaint from her with any task that needed done. That has taught me so much in my life, we can make anything hard work or we can make it fun and enjoyable…. it really is our choice. Now let’s bale some hay and have some fun!

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    1. Sounds like a good time! My son asked me to teach him to cut the grass yesterday. Some of my favorite activities are those that combine “work” with play, physical activity with mental challenge.

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