In workshops, whenever I ask the question ‘Why do we work?’, I usually get similar, standard replies. The most common responses are: ‘To pay the bills’ or ‘Because I have to’ which perpetuate the old, outdated attitudes to work that make it seem like something unappealing and a burden that we have to put up with.
Negative connotations around the idea of ‘work’
This negative attitude to work is often an inherited – and limiting -belief that prevents you from getting the most from the work that you do, while also holding you back from enjoying and appreciating the time that you spend working.
Don’t wish your life away
When you’re dissatisfied with your work it tends to develop into a very common pattern where you find that you’re counting the hours until the end of the day, counting the days until the end of the week, counting the weeks and months until you can go on holiday – and even counting the years until you can retire and stop working!
This is a regretful state of affairs because your work is meant to be so much more than something that you try to get through because you have to ‘put food on the table’.
As well as the usual complaints about ‘I have to work’, I also usually hear from some people that their work allows them ‘to make a difference’ or ‘to make a contribution’ – and this gladdens my heart because this is the truth of the matter!
Change how you think about work
It’s really important that we change the way we think about our work so that we can get the most from it. My own understanding of work is inspired by the following insightful words that act as a helpful reminder to me:
“Briefly, all effort and exertion put forth by man from the fullness of his heart is worship, if it is prompted by the highest motives and the will to do service to humanity.” (Abdu’l-Baha)
Try this for yourself
Why not experiment with this and adjust your attitude to your work so that all that you do, whether you’re building a bridge, teaching a class, managing an organisation, cleaning a home, answering telephones, taking care of children, designing a building, preparing a meal – or whatever else usually feels like ‘work’ – is seen in the light of offering service to the Creator as a way of worship.
When you apply this concept and then practice until it becomes your default attitude, you’ll quickly notice how different things feel when you’re working. You’ll notice that you feel better and that this energy then spreads to those around you. Give it a go – the only thing you have to lose is a dread of going to work!
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