Sweat not for nothing (Be inspired today 303 by Ngobesing Suh Romanus)

I got my highest score;
I beat my own record;
It’s amazing;
When you do better today,
Than you did yestetday,
That is improvement;
And isn’t it what we want?
We want progress;
We want to grow;
That, everybody wants,
Without exception;
Failing to progress
Means a wasted life;
Either you did not work
Hard enough,
Or you worked hard enough
For nothing;
Who wants to work hard
For nothing?
Nobody that I know
With his right mind.
We want to work
To reap the fruits of
Our work;
We want to plant
And harvest;
So that our sweat
Does not go for nothing.
Our sweat shall not go
For nothing
Sweat not for nothing.

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Work for it (Be inspired today 73 by Ngobesing Romanus)

Work for what you want;
Labour for your daily bread;
Everything you want
To have,
Work for it;
Everything you want
To achieve,
Work for it;
Don’t put your eyes
On things
You do not merit
Don’t long for something
For nothing!
Through
The sweat of your brow.
Get what you need;
Even a gift
Should be merited,
To have something
You have not worked for,
Is to have what
You do not merit,
And short and simple
That is to steal.

Your reward will be equivalent

You are asking for
Many things today;
How many things
Have you given
To others today?
You want someone
To smile to you
Today,
To how many people
Have you
Smiled today?
You are expecting
Many acts of kindness
From others today,
How many acts of kindness
Have you given out to
Others today?
Take note:
What you want given you,
Give it to others;
That is how life operates;
You are only given
The equivalent of
What you give;
As you put in time
Energy and attitude working,
Your reward will be
Equivalent.

The Contrast Of Loving Your Job

A man doing his job.

Author and anthropologist David Graeber mentioned in his book ‘Bullshit Jobs’, that today’s work features a lot of needless busywork and it’s preventing people from making a meaningful contribution to the world.

Maybe the modern quest for future unemployment comes from the fact that many jobs seem meaningless and unfulfilling. However, I have been wandering with this topic of ‘meaningful’ and ‘meaningless’ work for quite some time. Like, do I love my job? Is my job really bullshit?

For many years, I have lived my life arguing that most jobs are meaningless, this includes most of my own job as well. Only after failing my first start-up and having gone through unemployment, I can safely say that the only thing worse than working is not having a job. This made me reframe my perception of ‘meaningless’.

The Pleasure Of Work

During the time of my unemployment, I had all the time to reflect on my own thoughts and actions. For many years, I have asked myself daily whether my job has meaning or a sense of purpose. I was breaking my head trying to find a fulfilling answer, but I eventually came to the point of “No, it was neither meaningful nor fulfilling, but I did have fun.” It’s weird but that thought was quite uplifting.  

Looking back on my previous jobs, I actually did enjoy them and of course, some more than others. Eventually, enjoyment is what got me to do what I do now, which is writing. And because I get pleasure from writing, as a result, it gives me a sense of purpose. I initially thought that the job itself gave me a sense of purpose, but it’s not. It’s the pleasure of work that gave me a sense of purpose.

Yes, that’s right, the pleasure of work. In the moment of doing, meaning doesn’t matter, just the task at hand. That’s a break from my usual thought dwelling on the bigger picture of who I’m meant to be and what I should try to achieve in my life. When I’m working, I’m doing what’s needed.

When you perform your task well, you’re successful in your own way, big and small. That feels temporarily great despite that you may not change the world, but your approach to it makes a meaningful difference in how you and those your work with feel. Of course, people share different views on whether the pleasure of work is meant for everyone.

Puzzle Of Survival

Ryan Avant argues in The Economist’s 1843, that the pleasure of work lies partly in the process of losing oneself in a puzzle with a solution on which other people depend. He believes that the average wage service workers don’t have access to the same kind of pleasure. The puzzle we’re all constantly solving is survival, ideally by minimising both friction and conflict and maximising positive relations.

For example, when a hotel staff opens the door and offers to carry your heavy luggage to your room. Even though it doesn’t change the course of humanity, but it sure is nice and it makes you appreciative of the person doing the job. The staff earns a wage by solving the puzzle of carrying your luggage and hopefully making their share of the world run smoother.

There’s dignity in doing whatever must be done and having the appreciation for occupation.

However, work isn’t completely satisfying when you’re paid a lot and feel a bit arrogant about your wonderful position. Low-paid work may be undervalued societally, but it’s critical to everyone, and we all know it. Every job has some possibilities, but sadly not recognised by snobs.

In Need To Make A Living

John Danaher shared an interesting view in The Philosopher’s Magazine, saying that all this talk of jobs and purpose is exactly the problem with postmodern society. He defines work as “the performance of an activity for economic reward or in the hope of receiving some such reward.” Also,  believing that work is bad because many employment contracts allow employers to undermine worker freedom. However, because jobs are not securely held, workers accept this difficult position as they need to make a living.

But as anyone who has been under- or unemployed, knows that much worse than work is to worry about its absence. Stressing over how to pay for food and shelter, doubting when or if you’ll work again, and avoiding to spend money leaves little to no mental space for creativity and is more dreary than nagging about your boring job.

For most of us, work is necessary. Treating our working years as a kind of hell and dreaming of early retirement isn’t going to make life any more fun. So, you’re better off learning to live, work, and play now.

Contrast Is Key

“Clay is made into vessels; but it is on their empty hollowness, that their use depends. The door and windows are cut out to form a house; but it is on empty space, that its use depends. Everything is shaped by nothing,” according to Lao Tzu, a Taoist sage. Labour gives leisure time more quality because you push yourself on the job that makes having days off to spend time with friends, family, or even alone really enjoyable.

Besides, whatever your job, it has some satisfying aspects. Even if it only lets you pay your way, you can find ways to appreciate even the most boring jobs. Perhaps with time, you will find a more interesting job to spend your time working. But for now, dwelling continually in unhappiness will only build-up more unhappiness and make you less likely to find your way. Even if you’re not naturally passionate about, for example serving cranky customers, or reading corporate law documents, you can discover that these parts present fascinating discoveries and solutions as well.

What I want you to think about is that your work, your job, doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or dramatically impactful. It just has to matter to you because you’re doing it.

Author and anthropologist David Graeber mentioned in his book ‘Bullshit Jobs’, that today’s work features a lot of needless busywork and it’s preventing people from making a meaningful contribution to the world.

Maybe the modern quest for future unemployment comes from the fact that many jobs seem meaningless and unfulfilling. However, I have been wandering with this topic of ‘meaningful’ and ‘meaningless’ work for quite some time now. Like, is my job really bullshit?

For the longest time, I have lived my life arguing that most jobs are meaningless, this includes most of my own job as well. Only after failing my first start-up and having gone through unemployment, I can safely say that the only thing worse than working is not having a job. This made me reframe my perception of ‘meaningless’.

Pleasure Gives A Sense Of Purpose

During the time of my unemployment, I had all the time to reflect on my own thoughts and actions. For many years, I have asked myself daily whether my job has meaning or a sense of purpose. I was breaking my head trying to find a fulfilling answer, but I eventually came to the point of “No, but I did have fun.” It’s weird but that thought was quite uplifting.  

Looking back on my previous jobs, I actually did enjoy them and of course some more than others. Eventually, enjoyment is what got me to start writing, because I get pleasure from writing which gives me a sense of purpose. I initially thought that the job itself gave me a sense of purpose, but it’s not. It’s the pleasure of work that gave me a sense of purpose.

Yes, that’s right, pleasure. In the moment of doing, meaning doesn’t matter, just the task at hand. That’s a break from my usual thought dwelling on the bigger picture of who I’m meant to be and what I should try to achieve in my life. When I’m working, I’m doing what’s needed.

When you perform your task well, you’re successful in your own way, big and small. That feels temporarily great despite that you may not change the world, but your approach to it makes a meaningful difference in how you and those your work with feel.

Puzzle Of Survival

Ryan Avant argues in The Economist’s 1843, that the pleasure of work lies partly in the process of losing oneself in a puzzle with a solution on which other people depend. He believes that the average wage service workers don’t have access to the same kind of pleasure. The puzzle we’re all constantly solving is survival, ideally by minimising both friction and conflict and maximising positive relations.

For example, when a hotel staff opens the door and offers to carry your heavy luggage to your room. Even though it doesn’t change the course of humanity, but it sure is nice and it makes you appreciative of the person doing the job. The staff earns a wage by solving the puzzle of packing and carrying and hopefully making their share of the world run smoothly.

There’s dignity in doing whatever must be done and having the appreciation for occupation.

However, work isn’t completely satisfying when you’re paid a lot and feel a bit arrogant about your wonderful position. Low-paid work may be undervalued societally, but it’s critical to everyone, and we all know it. Every job has some possibilities, but sadly not recognised by snobs.

In Need To Make A Living

John Danaher shared an interesting view in The Philosopher’s Magazine, saying that all this talk of jobs and purpose is exactly the problem with postmodern society. He defines work as “the performance of an activity for economic reward or in the hope of receiving some such reward.” Also,  believing that work is bad because many employment contracts allow employers to undermine worker freedom. However, because jobs are not securely held, workers accept this difficult position as they need to make a living.

But as anyone who has been under- or unemployed, knows that much worse than work is to worry about its absence. Stressing over how to pay for food and shelter, doubting when or if you’ll work again, and avoiding to spend money leaves little mental space for creativity and is more dreary than nagging about a boring job.

For most of us, work is necessary. Treating our working years as a kind of hell and dreaming of early retirement isn’t going to make life any more pleasurable. So, you’re better off learning to live, work, and play now.

Contract Is Key

“Clay is made into vessels; but it is on their empty hollowness, that their use depends. The door and windows are cut out to form a house; but it is on empty space, that its use depends. Everything is shaped by nothing,” according to Lao Tzu, a Taoist sage. Labour gives leisure time more quality because you push yourself on the job that makes having days off to spend time with friends, family, or even alone really enjoyable.

Besides, whatever your job, it has some satisfying aspects. Even if it only lets you pay your way, you can find ways to appreciate even the most boring job. Perhaps with time, you will find a more interesting job to spend your time working. But for now, dwelling continually in unhappiness will only build-up more unhappiness and make you less likely to find your way.

Interests aren’t inherently fixed, as Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck points out. Having a growth mindset, being open, is wiser than putting your whole being into a single passion. Even if you’re not naturally passionate about, for example serving cranky customers, or reading corporate law documents, you can discover that these parts present fascinating discoveries and solutions as well.

What I want you to think about is that your work, your job, doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or dramatically impactful. It just has to matter to you because you’re doing it.

Originally published at ye-chen.com.

Do you have a different view on this topic? 

Have your say in the comment section 🙂

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“The place of the woman is in the kitchen.”

As a little boy, I started hearing “The place of the woman is in the kitchen.” I don’t hear it much these days. Many people think it discriminates against women, and frown at it; but there are still many people who hold uncompromisingly that the place of the woman is in the kitchen; that women are to be seen and not to be heard.

Some actually go beyond mere talking to put an embargo on any attempt by their wives to become career women or get any kind of paid job outside the home.

And it may surprise you that it’s not men alone who hold this view. Some women agree and say a woman should not get office work for a salary but should stay at home and take care of it and her family.

Of course, evidently, this makes the woman dependent on her husband for all her financial needs with all the humiliation that will definitely go with it.

Have you heard this debate in your community? What is your take on it? Are there disadvantages when a married woman is working in an office outside her home?

2 steps to a great name

If you want a great
Name,
Who says it is not
Your right.
Rack your brains;
Stretch your arms;
Go the extra mile;
No great name
Is made overnight;
No great name
On easy terms;
If you aren’t ready
To toil and sweat,
Be contented
With mediocre
Or at best
Average performance;
The best things
Of the world
Go to those who
Fight for them
Through hard work.
Work hard then;
Let the sweat
Stream from your brows;
Down your cheeks;
God knows how to reward
Those who toil and sweat;
While empty handed
The lazy ones go home.
Toil and sweat;
One of two steps
To a great name;
Therefore,
Toil and sweat
Your way to the top;
Toil and sweat,
Your way to a great name;
But that is not all;
You make the plan;
God Almighty executes
The plan,
If you ask him to do so;
Yes, he’s meant to be
Your Senior Partner
In the game of life.
Bring him in
Through prayer
To play his role.
Take these two steps;
You will get
To the ivory tower.
And live like a Lord.

Do good work and see what happens

Good work
Is always rewarded;
It doesn’t matter
How long it takes;
Good work
Never goes unrewarded;
Though it may
Very much look so
For some time;
Finally the harvest
Cones;
And abundantly so;
Always go for
Good work;
Focusing not on what
You will reap;
But on the
Good work
You do;
If you do the
Good work;
The divine Master
Will give the fruits.
Good work;
Nothing but
Good work;
Do good work;
And see what happens