Day 313: When Work Becomes A Lifestyle

In certain professions and career paths there exist this norm, an accepted and even idealized trait, that you should work a lot – that it is good to work a lot – that you will expand and bloom if you work a lot. It is a interesting way of looking at life and there are many examples of this in modern TV-series. Let us look at the series Suits for example. Here we have two guys, pulling long hours each day, working, hanging out with their colleagues, and on their free-time, which is sparse, they either plan what they are going to do at work later, or worry about things that have or that might go wrong at work.

I have myself managed to end up in one of these career paths where there is a majority that view work as an ideal and it has only been recently that I have started to question this way of life, and in that asking myself – why is it that I see working a lot as something to strive for? And looking deeper at this point, I have seen that it is not so much about the work in itself, instead what moves and drives me to put in long hours is a mix of fears, desires, and also, some genuine expressions of MOVEMENT and EXPANSION. There is in-fact a genuine urge to improve, to go further, to enhance,  and to reach perfection. However, there is one important point that is missed in all of this, and I assume it is something that has become programmed into us from birth, it is that I do not see that in ALL parts of my life there are opportunities to push for perfection.

Hence, why is it that I only choose to push and will myself to go further at my work and not for example, with the same fervency and passion, in my own inner process of self-change? Or in my daily living chores, such as cooking, cleaning, washing, doing my hair, cleaning myself, etc? What I have seen is that this drive does not exist the same way, because in my personal life, there is no reward, there is no MONEY at the end of the line, there is no boss approving my work, no colleague telling me that I am doing good, there is no STIMULUS that moves me to push myself. This is obviously a extensive limitation, and a misalignment that causes me to put in too much time at work, creating a unbalance between my personal life of leisure and responsibility, and my professional life of survival in the world system.

What I have seen that I want to create in my life in order to correct this point is a balance between my leisure life and my professional life – and also – to remind myself each day that my private leisure life is also VERY important  – because it is here that I am able to pursue interests and push points that are not at this stage accepted as a part of the working system. Such as for example, giving time and effort to the DIP courses that I am walking, or pushing myself to write more for myself, do more blogs, and when the time is there, do vlogs – and also to give myself time to investigate the current functioning of the system.

What I want to share with this blog is the importance of remembering ourselves, that it is not about what we do in the system, who remembers us, how much money we earn, or what legacy we leave behind – at the end of the day it is about WHO WE ARE – and that point of self-creation is not limited to working. In-fact, for us to expand, to become multifaceted, skilled and learned in all parts of living, we have to give ourselves time to do other things but working.

And due to this point opening up, I have begun to observe myself more intently those days when I remain at the office long after working hours – and I have seen that my experience in those moments is slightly charged and elevated, it has become an addiction to work past the clock, and even though I have handled all the responsibilities that are required, I still sit there and continue – because I do not feel like stopping. It is thus in these moments that I have begun to apply the correction of taking a deep breath, slowing down, and asking myself: ‘Do I really need to sit here and work past the clock today?’ – and then if I answer that question with a self-honest NO – I pack up my things and leave for the day.

And related to this, I wish to share something that I read: It was an article about an old man who was nearing his retirement, and he look at the new generations, and said it looked like we were all running a 100 meter race, running as fast as we could to create as much as possible. He said that actually, life, and work, is like a marathon, and to reach the end you have to retain a balance in your life. If you use up all your energy in the first kilometers, you are going to be too tired to finish. And that is insightful and it also the solution to career, to work, and actually, to most points in life – walk with moderation – balance – and see that if but one thing becomes our complete life – then we are going to put unnecessary pressure on ourselves. We need to have variety in our lives in order to be functional and effective. And here is then the irony, that the more balance we have, the more effective and productive we will be when we do sit down to work – because then we have a clear and rested mind and a rejuvenated and replenished body.

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