Can Hard Work Really Make You Happy?

Hard work? Read on to find out why you may have been thinking about it in the wrong way…

hard work

We all want life to be fun and easy.

Since our end goal as sentient beings is to be happy, we seek all the things that can make us happy.

Yet happiness eludes us.

It doesn’t matter how much we try to minimize pain and increase pleasure.

Like the seasons, it comes and goes.

One day it dawns on us that happiness is a decision, not an outcome.

Achieving things only creates temporary satisfaction. And getting things we always wanted does the same thing.

But despite the awareness that happiness is an inside job, it still eludes us. Yes, we may be more content than before. Yes we may be more accepting and appreciative. Still it’s not enough. Nothing sticks.

Then, as soon as the next mishap occurs, our philosophy collapses.

We’ve reached a point where we don’t even enjoy looking back at our lives. We usually see it more as a series of disasters we managed to survive than a fulfilling journey.

Apathy and escapism becomes our default ego-defense mechanism.

While I can’t claim that I’ve found the secret of happiness, I do think I’ve found a way to be happier than I’ve ever been before.

I did it by making a new friend, a friend called hard work.

Allow me to explain…

Hard Work Has Been Given A Bad Rap

No doubt, you have heard about the value of hard work since you were little. And like most people, it doesn’t excite you.

Yes, you’ve done your share of it, and no doubt it has made a difference for you.

And you have probably heard it extolled as a virtue from innumerable sources.

Reluctantly, you’ve come to accept it, but secretly consider it a necessary evil.

Yet without it, not much happens. And with it, things get a little better.

Unfortunately what you and I have learned about hard work is a lie.

Hard work is not coercion. It’s not forcing yourself to do something because someone wants you to do it. It’s not forcing yourself to do something because the alternative is some form of penalty.

Hard work has been given a bad rap, and I would like to propose a new definition.

How Hard Work Upgraded My Life

I started to work hard by accident. I wasn’t lazy before, but I did what I did because I had to do it, and then thought nothing more about it.

Then over the past few years, I got passionate about a few things. I worked hard at them, and I got better at what I love to do, which is to write, exercise, and study.

Something extraordinary started to happen. My whole life improved over time. While I’m far from living my ideal life, things have never been better.

I now have guest posts on some of the top blogs on the Internet because I sought out mentors and learned how to write better.

My level of strength and fitness, which was already good, has now gone through the roof.

My understanding of things that I had previously shunned has changed one hundred and eighty degrees. For instance, when I was in school, I hated math. Now I study a new math skill every day and find it a fascinating new way of thinking. It’s the language of a precise universe.

My finances improved, too, as did my outlook on life. And I wasn’t even trying.

Everything just got better. Much better.

How did all this happen?

It happened because I formed a new relationship with hard work.

The Real Meaning of Hard Work

Hard work is rewarding for its own sake. Once you get that then everything changes for you.

We live in a world of cause and effect. When you and I work hard, we put our shoulder to the boulder — instead of trying to prevent it from rolling over us.

We become at cause. We initiate change. Life becomes exciting.

Things are no longer happening to us; we are making them happen.

While I’m not saying that hard work is the only causal element in a complex universe, it’s one that you have complete control over.

Yes, magical things happen. A chance meeting with someone on the subway can give you the career break you’ve been searching for all your life. An article in a magazine at a Dental office may instantly give you a deeper perspective on how to solve a pressing problem. But serendipity and synchronicity is not something you can control.

Hard work is something you can control. If you make it your anchor, then everything goes well for you even when synchronicity gets thin and unexpected problems arise.

The Great Equalizer

The difference between people is so vast, it’s staggering.

  • Some people appear to have encyclopedic knowledge. Others are proud of their ignorance and will belittle those who think deeply about things.
  • Some people can afford to buy their own private jet. Others struggle all month to pay their modest rent.
  • Some people are world-class athletes. Others can barely walk across the street because everything hurts.
  • Some people are surrounded by people who love and support them. Others find themselves alone.

Is this just luck? Is it karma from a past life? Is it destiny? Is it an unfair distribution of talent or opportunity?

Perhaps.

Yet some people who were at the bottom of their field of study are now at the top. Some people who were once poor are now rich. Some people who were once sickly are now healthy and strong. And some people who were once lonely are now enjoying rich and fulfilling relationships.

Every success story has different reasons for the startling transformation. Yet they all have one thing in common. People lifted themselves out of a lower state to a higher state. They replaced scarcity with abundance, limitations with opportunities.

The ignorant person studied hard. The poor person applied themselves to a particular line of work. The sickly person changed their diet and started exercising. And the lonely person worked hard at making friends.

The golden thread that pulled people everyone out of their miserable situation was hard work.

Leisure is Overrated

We now live in a world where machines are taking on the burden of heavy labor. Opportunities for leisure are everywhere.

The philosophy of the good life, a life of leisure and extravagant consumption, can be found in every piece of advertising you come across.

The advice you hear most often is to take it easy. Only ditch diggers and fools work hard. Work smart. Automate. Double your time off.

Yet none of this has increased human happiness. Instead, we appear as miserable as ever before in human history.

We’re unhappy because we’re bored. We need ever higher doses of stimulation to get any satisfaction. We spend most of our time trying to get rid of the burden of too much time. We live as if we were immortals, as if human life was an evolutionary mistake. We seek to distract ourselves from our broken past by pursuing fleeting pleasures.

Unless you dedicate your life to becoming the best version of yourself, life will always be hollow and meaningless. You don’t notice the fascinating world around you. You leave your vast treasure of inner riches untouched and wonder why things never work out for you.

A welfare mentality is poisoning our lives. We feel entitled to everything, but do nothing to make a difference. We waste our precious human lives chasing trash and tinsel.

It’s hard to be happy when you’re not fully engaged with your life. 

Revisiting the Idea of Hard Work

Let’s separate the idea of hard work from the idea of forced labor. When we do, we can call hard work by a more euphemistic phrase—“following your passion,” “taking the hero’s journey,” “doing what you love,” “saving your own life,” or “living a purpose-driven life.”

I’m sure you already work hard, but what if you tried a more conscious approach to it. By choosing the things you want to excel in, you ride the thrilling wave of becoming a change agent. This gives you a real chance to be happy. When you enter a flow state, reality becomes beautiful. And if you happen to grow at an astonishing rate or make a massive contribution to humanity, consider that a bonus.

The thing about hard work is that anyone can do it. You can start with where you are with what you have and build upon it. You can sharpen your brain, revitalize your body, and lift your spirits through hard work. You can transform yourself and change the world with it. A person, a business, or a nation that loves to work hard will always prosper.

It’s a success secret hiding in plain.

I accidentally did the right thing. Now you can do it deliberately.

Please leave your comments below. I’d love to know what you think.

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