Unless you happen to have been living in a cave during the past 10 or so years, you can’t fail to have noticed the start of a revolution in terms of people’s attitudes to work. While some blame it on Generation Y, a generation which is less prepared than any other before it to accept the status quo without question, others accredit it to the growing need for the human race to rediscover its sense of spirituality and find meaning in all aspects of life.
Whichever is the case though, the belief that work is something to be endured but not enjoyed is one which is gaining less and less acceptance in countries around the world.
Since the days of slavery when the only two choices were work or perish, men and women have worked tirelessly to put bread on the table, to improve their quality of life and to “make something of themselves.” In the vast, vast majority of cases, however, they have tried to achieve these aims through jobs which have bored and frustrated them, for which they have felt no sense of passion and to which they have seldom been particularly well suited. Society has dictated that to have any expectation of gaining personal satisfaction or fulfillment from their work is not only unrealistic, but downright irresponsible. The result? Millions and millions of miserable workers who struggle even to find the motivation to get out of bed each morning, let alone find it within themselves to put in their best performances and truly be able to excel at what they do.
During the course of a 40-year working life which entails putting in an eight-hour day, five days a week and allows four weeks of annual leave per year, each of us will work an incredible 76,800 hours. That figure represents a full third of our waking hours during what is typically the period of our lives when we are at our fittest and most energetic, and yet in most cases that time is squandered. If each working day is filled with drudgery or boredom or feels like an uphill battle, we have no hope of reaching our full capabilities or our full earning capacities. We simply can’t maintain sufficient motivation to make ourselves stand out from the crowd and so merely end up languishing amongst the ranks of the mediocre.
Just imagine how much could be achieved during those 76,800 hours if we were to put our efforts into something that we truly believed in with all our hearts; something that made us want to bounce out of bed in the mornings, that aligned with our personal values and that felt more like a hobby than a job; something that made us want to work for the sake of working and to learn for the sake of learning. With such a sense of passion we would literally be unstoppable. There would be nothing that we couldn’t achieve.
Whenever we are fuelled by passion in life, we have the drive, enthusiasm and energy to make things happen. In the work arena, that passion drives away fear, lets us take risks which would otherwise be inconceivable, allows us to become experts in our fields and to earn salaries far beyond our wildest dreams. All of these things though, come almost effortlessly. Simply by doing what we love and what we are naturally attuned to, we become so engrossed in our daily activities that we scarcely notice the passing of the hours and how success is building on success.
Whatever stage you are at in your working life, take a moment to stop and imagine a career filled with inspiration and excitement. It’s no less than any of us deserves.