Hard Work has a secret sibling!

Hello again and welcome, readers! I’d like you to brace yourself as it is going to be quite a while before I finish my rant. So get comfy and then pick this up, because it is longer than the previous one.

In my previous post, I’d mentioned a few moments that were meaningful to me and perhaps, to you.  In this post, I’d like to talk about doing something that makes life meaningful. Now when I say something like this, I don’t actually mean I have the answers to all sorts of life related questions. It’s just my take on the problems, beliefs and conundrums I face daily.

How many of you have had the experience of the age old phrase, “Work Hard!” being told to you, to which you mentally reacted like “Yeah sure!” I know I have. This was probably because at a young age I had, because of movies, associated ‘Hard Work’ with this…

HardWork_388x357

This was probably because I rely on images to remember things. I have a visual memory.

So I thought, “Why would I want to push boulders up a mountain?” The more I thought about it, the more it made no sense to me. But since it was a norm and everyone was doing it, I thought it was cool. So even though I would work hard, I wouldn’t be satisfied.

Time passed by and I kept believing it more and more firmly.

Then one day, I came across a fantasy novel called ‘The Sea of Monsters’ by Rick Riordan. If you are into young adult fiction, I’d say it’s worth your time. This is how I was introduced to novels and fiction. Then some old friend showed me poems he wrote. I thought it was interesting, so I decided to try. So one day as I returned home from college and sat watching a program on TV about The Big Bang Theory (the actual scientific theory, not to be confused with the TV show), I kid you not when I say this that I had an uncontrollable urge to pen down a poem on the very topic. I literally went to my room, grabbed a pencil and paper and jotted down a poem on “The String Theory” (whatever I understood of it anyway).

That is how I started writing. I know it sounds a bit unrealistic, but that is probably because I was trying to live a fairy tale then. I was the most unrealistic person I’d known. So I developed a habit of writing poems and started enjoying them to the extent that at a point I’d written 2-3 poems in a day. And later I began venturing into stories. I actually started doing hard work without even knowing it because writing was the only thing on my mind, day-in and day-out. But, this caused me to stay inside a bubble that I’d created which was hurting my academics.

Then I got stuck in a self-fulfilling cycle of doing lesser and lesser work every day, all the while losing interest. Until one day, when I stopped working altogether. That was the day that I had assumed defeat to what I assumed was what life was all about. I was depressed. At this point, my question had changed from “Why should I push boulders?” to “How do they do it? How do they keep working hard?

I kept wandering in Dream Castles and Fictional Universes because the real world stopped making sense to me. Time passed by and somehow I pulled myself out of the ditch that I had trapped myself in. I started to pursue topics that gave me purpose, something that was lacking in the things I was doing on my “Set Path”. Here is a quote by, me….

A person without a purpose is equivalent to a starving lion.”

What?!

Let me explain. If a starving lion sees any living, breathing creature, even if is an offspring of that lion, it won’t care. All it cares for is its stomach. Similarly, if  a person goes too long without a purpose in life, he will either be eternally wandering, achieving nothing in life or will achieve everything in life and yet be unsatisfied. Even if one lives a short life, they would definitely want it to be satisfying. That’s why people do what they do when they discover that they have cancer or will die soon. The desperation to live arises in them in the face of death.

So coming back to what I was saying, all of the false reasoning broke down and I started to see no purpose in what I was doing. I searched online and probably even stared at the answer to my question, but I never realised it would be something really simple.

Somehow I finished all of my academics and put it in the past. After tons of research and introspection, I contradicted my own belief system and with a lot of self-doubt and the lowest level of self-esteem I’d ever had, I told my parents that I wanted to do Game Design. By that time I’d changed what I wanted to do so many times that I lost track.

Now fast forwarding to a few months ago, I was wasting my time on the internet. There was nothing really bad about that, except that I was entertaining myself when I was supposed to be working. I was watching one of my friends, a gamer, who had a task at hand which was more important than playing games. Even though he loved playing games, he did what was required rather than what he loved doing for fun. He did what was necessary for him to progress academically and he was pursuing what he loved. It was in that moment that I realised what “Hard Work” really meant. It wasn’t working endlessly that was the key ingredient. It was sacrifice. The moment that I realised that, I saw what was required for me to achieve anything. It was sacrifice. I had to sacrifice anything that didn’t contribute to my set goal. Ultimately, only if it contributed to achieving that goal there would be meaning in doing it, otherwise I would be throwing away my time and energy. The sacrifice makes the activity for which it is made, seem valuable.

It took me a while in getting used to that, but now I see why it works.

To achieve something, you need to sacrifice something that you assign an equal importance, if not greater.”

It’s the same reason why we value money. In exchange for money (the sacrifice), we get goods or services. And in exchange for our time and energy, we get money! Funny how that works though!

After going through all that, I got just this much.

Hard work requires sacrifice!”

Seems like a bit of a stretch, isn’t it?

If we take these two words literally, generally speaking, any work isn’t really that hard (there might be exceptions here though). It’s really the mental effort involved to push beyond our comfort zone and keep going until the task at hand is completed. We feel motivated to do something only when we find that it adds value to our lives. No value, no motivation.

Now, there are countless other people who have written blogs, books, given lectures, spoken in podcasts, etc. So this is my take, my understanding of what “Hard Work” means, at least for now. I’d like to now take a look at successful people’s definition of what Hard Work means and possibly take away something useful as I’m not interested in re-inventing the wheel any longer. Now I’d like to improvise on what works.

So thank you readers for making it so far, if you have made it, and see you next weekend! (Yes, this is going to be once in a week)

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