This club states that we should focus on the 5% that’s not on autopilot. There may be an implicit assumption by people reading this that work falls into the 95%, perhaps along with going to the garden centre on a Sunday morning, dealing with the kids’ school and all the other generally mundane things we have to do.
I’ve been lucky enough to live and work in very different places and cultures – UK, Asia, Israel – and there is a generally accepted notion in all these countries that work is what you do to be able to live. So I’m assuming this is a pretty well established all over the world.
You work to live. Suck it up baby, because you don’t really have a choice. Do your job and then try to make the best of the rest of your time.
A friend of mine, Chris Barez-Brown, has just written a book called Free!. It’s all about learning to love your work and love your life. Chris’ basic premise is that we spend one helluva lot of time at ‘work’. If we want to live an extraordinary life we have to make our work equally extraordinary, he says. And he’s right.
I’ve had jobs that made me cry with desperation, willing each day to end, knowing that inside I was dying little by little. And equally I’ve had jobs that made me smile from the minute I woke up until the minute I went to bed. These jobs were typically with people who I respected, developed real deep relationships with and genuinely loved. Perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to have jobs like this too.
We spend far too much time working for work not to be part of our 5%, the part of life that makes your heart soar and, to quote a famous brand, gives you wings. When I was in the job that made me smile, I was a smiley person. Not just the work part of me, but me. All of me.
No one makes us work. Of course we have to work to live, as I said before, but we don’t have to do the work we do. We do have a choice. You have a choice. It’s up to you to make work as good as it can be. If not, choose to do something else. No one has the perfect job, but it’s what we do with it that can make it right for us. And it’s what we do with us that can make work as good as it can be.
What do I mean?
You can change the job you have and you can also change the way you do your work. You have a choice on how to be at work and how you are not only affects your experience of work but also how people react to you. If you’re happy and positive at work then positivity will follow you around. And it will create a virtuous circle – positivity breeds positivity. You can also change what you do outside of work but because we spend so long working, choosing to change your work will be the biggest thing you can do.
Fundamentally, work doesn’t own you – you have a choice. And once you realise that you have a choice, and ask yourself what you’re going to do with that choice, well, the world’s your oyster. You can choose to do anything you like. Just find a way to make it happen.