- Mental Health
How To Love Your Job: Blurring the Lines Between Work and Play
Ann Landers once said, “Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them.” Arnold J. Toynbee, an economic historian, stated that “the supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.”
Both of these statements contain immense wisdom we can use to make our time at our jobs more fulfilling. Anyone can look around at the economic state of our country and recognize that having a job, any job, is becoming more and more a blessing, rather than a right. The growing scarcity of available jobs is reaching a crisis point for increasing numbers of individuals and families. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been contracted out of the country to places like India and Pakistan. The southern borders of our country have been opened to scores of illegal immigrants. We are angry that our right to work is being taken away and given to those who don't even pay taxes to our country. We've been told that this is ok because Americans don't want to do the kind of work being done by the illegals and contracted foreigners. Really????? Then I suppose it's our own fault, isn't it? We've refused to do work we felt is beneath us, or unattractive financially, and now we're angry at the ones who are doing it.
It's only too true that we Americans are always in search of employment which pays the most for the least amount of effort. That doesn't necessarily make us lazy or greedy. However, if we refuse to see that every job has it's share of hard work, and less than glamorous aspects, we are blinding ourselves to the opportunities that await us in those tasks. We have a choice in how we view our lives, our jobs, our children, and even our looks. If we focus on the negatives of any of these things, we are in effect, choosing to be miserable. If we look for and focus on every positive facet, we can find happiness and a sort of peace in knowing that we are involved in tasks which bring good feelings.
Blurring the line between work and play is really only a matter of controlling our thoughts. Every action we take begins with a single thought. It is our thoughts which determine our happiness and satisfaction in all we undertake. If we view what we do for a living as drudgery, or distasteful, we can only expect to feel misery and dissatisfaction. If we choose to view it through eyes looking for the big payoff down the road, we can find excitement. For instance, I absolutely abhor all the preliminary work that goes into preparing for a major sewing project. However, I am greatly rewarded by the finished product. It is the feelings of satisfaction and pride in a beautiful creation which drives me to complete all the steps with care and attention. I keep before me, the knowledge that the end result will bring all those good feelings. This, in turn, brings excitement about moving to the next step and then the next.
I don't know anyone who works because they need a hobby. We work because it is a means to an end. For some of us, it is the promise of being able to purchase that new car, or special prom dress in the window. For some, it is but one step toward a better style of living. And for still others, it is a means for feeling useful, for feeling that we are contributing something worthy to the world. Whatever our personal reasons for being employed, we can blur the line between work and play by merely changing our perspectives through control of our thoughts. Instead of giving time to thoughts regarding what we don't like about our jobs, we can replace the thoughts with ones which honor all the positives. When we focus on the small things which bring pleasure rather than those which bring discomfort, we are giving ourselves opportunities to move toward greater achievements, instead of being stuck in the ruts of discontentment.
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