How to Truly Enjoy Hard Work – Is Hard Work Outdated?

By Daniel Ihenetu

Patrick sighs as he sees the pile of course materials, textbooks and the long course outline he has to cover before his examinations. “What am I even doing in this dead-end school?” he asks himself. “When am I going to hit it big in life and forget about having to work before my needs are met? My life would be so much better if I didn’t have to work.”

Perhaps, Patrick sees his work and studies in school this way because his parents are no more and he has to train himself in school. Like Patrick in this scenario, many today do not enjoy working hard. A lot of people think it’s just beneath them to do even ‘menial’ work when the need arises. Some workers often have an attitude of “I’m only doing this until a better opportunity comes along.”

Why do many feel that hard work is not for them? Perhaps they have been influenced by the media, which often portrays an “ideal” life as one of luxury and ease. “People think that the harder you work to make a living, the less successful you are,” some will often say. We may have noticed the same trend at some point in time or the other. As a janitor once said, “A full day’s work for a full day’s wage is something that people simply do not do anymore.”

On the other hand, many successful people actually enjoy hard work. “I think that hard work is extremely rewarding, especially when it’s directed towards worthwhile goals,” says a 25-year-old construction worker named Daniel. Andre, 23 would agree. “I believe that happiness and enjoyment are linked to work,” he says. “Less work and activity is not venture that will lead to long-term happiness – only long-term boredom!”

How have people like Daniel and Andre developed a positive view of hard work? Simply put, they have applied universal principles in their life. Far from discouraging work, life promotes diligence and perseverance. But true success is not only a result of work; it is also a result of enjoying our work.

What universal principles can help you find satisfaction in your work? Let’s consider a few of them, as discussed in the following article. Take a look at this infographic which summaries the post:

How to Enjoy Hard Work:

Let us borrow a portion of the Bible that I find very enlightening with regards to this subject of enjoying our work. “Everyone should eat and drink and find enjoyment for all his hard work. It is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:13) This shows that ‘work’ is a gift which has so many benefits such as meeting our needs and giving us satisfaction when completed. Besides, not everyone can work. Physically or mentally disabled or handicapped people cannot do some kind of work and some cannot do any at all.

How then can we enjoy our work?

  1. Cultivate a positive view of work

Whether your work is mostly mental, mostly physical, or somewhere in between, you need to recognize that “there is benefit in every kind of hard work.” What sort of benefit? For one thing, hard work helps us to care for our material needs. In diligently trying to earn an honest living, the fact that our needs are met when we do what we ought to should motivate us.

Thus, we can view our work as a means to an end. Work is an honorable way to care for our responsibilities. “Providing for yourself is an accomplishment,” says 25-year-old Joshua. “If you are able to pay for what you need, then your work is doing what is supposed to do.”

Moreover, hard work contributes to our self-respect. After all, hard work is just that – hard. When we discipline ourselves to stick with our work – even if it seems boring or difficult – we can have the satisfaction of knowing that we held ourselves to a high standard. We have won a victory over the inclination to take the easy way out. In that sense, work brings an intense feeling of satisfaction. “I love the feeling I have after a long day of work,” says Aaron. “I may be exhausted – and my work might have even gone unnoticed by others – but I know that I’ve accomplished something.”

  1. Apply yourself to your work

A man who is “skillful at his work” and the woman who “delights to work with her hands” will in every sense of it enjoy what they do. Of course, a person does not become skillful automatically. And few of us enjoy doing things that we are not good at. Perhaps that is why many do not enjoy their work; they simply have not put forth enough effort to become good at it.

In reality, you can learn to enjoy almost any kind of work if you approach it with the right mind-set – that is, if you focus on learning how to do the job well. “When you put your best into a task and see the results, it’s very satisfying,” says 24-year-old William. “You never get that feeling from cutting corners or doing only the minimum.”

  1. Focus on how your work benefits others

Avoid the trap of thinking only about how much money you are earning. Rather, ask yourself such questions as these: ‘Why is this job necessary? What would happen if it wasn’t done – or it wasn’t done right? How does my work benefit others?’

That last question is especially good to think about, for work is most satisfying when we see how it benefits other people. “There is more happiness in giving than there is receiving,” says Jesus. In addition to those who benefit directly from our services – such as customers and employers – there are others who benefit from our hard work. These include members of our household and those in need.

Members of our household –

When a family head works hard to provide for members of his household, he benefits them in at least two ways. First, he makes sure that they have the physical necessities of life – food, clothing, and shelter. He thus fulfills his natural responsibility to “provide for those who are his own.” Secondly, a diligent breadwinner teaches by example the importance of hard work. “My father is a great example of someone who has a good work ethic,” says Shane, quoted in the preceding article. “He is an honest man who has worked hard his whole life, the majority of it as a carpenter. From his example, I’ve learned the value of working with your hands, building things that will have practical use for other people.”

Those in need –

We have already established a satisfaction and multiplication of resources that comes with giving than receiving. Working hard so that you may have something to share with someone in need should also be a motivation. Men like Bill Gates give to charity because they understand these principles and are motivated by the fact that their wealth not just makes their lives better but makes the world a better place. Indeed, when we work hard to provide for ourselves and our family, we may also be in a position to help those who are less fortunate. So, hard work can enable us to experience the greater happiness of giving.

How they view hard work >>

“When I’m tired at the end of the day, I feel a real sense of accomplishment and joy. I know I really worked that day.” – Nick.

“Working hard is the best way to work. If you’re going to do something worth-while, do it right.” – Christian.

“The human body can do extraordinary things. I like to show my appreciation for the gift of life by using it to work hard and help other people.” – David.

  1. Go the extra mile

Another principle we can apply to help us enjoy our work is “going two miles when required to go for a mile”. Rather than simply doing the minimum, look for ways to do more than is required. Set personal goals; challenge yourself to do your work better or faster than expected. Take pride in even small details of your work.

When you go the extra mile, you are more likely to enjoy your work. Why? Because you are in control of your actions. You are giving more because you want to, not because someone forced you to. In this regard, we might recall another universal principle written in the words of Solomon, “The hands of the diligent ones will rule, but idle hands will be put to forced labor.” True, few of us will be put under literal slavery or forced labor. However, a person who does only the bare minimum may feel that he is enslaved, always under the yoke of the demands of others. But the person who goes the extra mile – doing more because he chooses to – feels in control of his life. He remains the master over his actions.

  1. Keep work in its proper place

Hard work is admirable, yet we do well to remember that there is more to life than work. True, diligence is important for success. But becoming a workaholic can become disastrous instead. “Better is a handful of rest than two handfuls of work and chasing after the wind.” The point? A workaholic may never enjoy the fruitage of his labor if his work consumes all his time and energy. In effect, his work becomes as pointless as “chasing after the wind.”

We need to cultivate a balanced view of work. Although we should apply ourselves to our work, we are also to “make sure of the more important things”. What are the more important things? These things defer with individual preferences, goals and ambitions. But we will all agree that spending time with family and friends is very important because the fruit of our labor is more satisfying when we have people we can share it with. Also very important are activities that keep us physically, mentally and spiritually healthy because as the cliché goes, “health is wealth”.

Those who keep their life balanced are likely to enjoy their work even more. “One of my former employers is a great example of someone with a balanced work ethic,” says William. “He works hard, and he has a good rapport with his clients because of the quality of his work. But at the end of the day, when the job is done he knows how to leave his work behind and focus on his family and his worship. And you know what? He’s one of the happiest people I know!”

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