After reading Chapter two of Myles Munroe’s book, Maximising Your Potential, I loved work. I so loved work that I’d excitedly grind through what I considered drudgery before then, after reading that section.
What I’m about to do with this article is share my story of how I began to like work. I knew myself as a serial procrastinator. This was so, not because I didn’t know the benefits of work, but because I didn’t like work.
Moving away from hating or being indifferent about work to truly liking work is a big jump.
If what you hate is a certain type of work, then what you should do is easy— do some other work. But if what you hate is working in general, there’s a little twist to it.
Myles Munroe began to explain to me (through his book), the nature and purpose of work. and here’s what I got.
What is Work?
Work is not the exertion of energy but the release of potential. Work is the process of bringing into existence what could exist that wouldn’t exist except you make it. Work is creation. The perfect demonstration of work is a woman in labor, trying to birth a child. No pregnant woman “hates” labor because what she sees is the child.
If you can picture and understand a pregnant woman’s eager anticipation of labor, then you can love work. Work is production— it is giving birth.
Think of the joy of watching an electric light bulb shine for the first time, Thomas Edison would have experienced. Think of his smile at the thought, I made this. If you can resonate with that joy, it means you love work.
But work is not just bringing forth a new baby or a Nobel invention— it is bringing forth anything that didn’t exist: a new paragraph on an empty paper or a new melody to the empty or noisy air. It is the accumulation of work that brings the big changes.
Once you begin to find pleasure in the feeling of fulfillment brought by accomplishments, no matter how little, work no longer becomes drudgery to you.
You begin to see a clean garage that would have remained dirty if you didn’t take up the task, then a smiling relative who wouldn’t have smiled if you just laid on your bed, then an excellent CEOs speech that wouldn’t be that good if you didn’t do the research, then a greener account balance, then so many years of impact and fulfillment.
The nature of work is creation and the purpose of work is production.
Now with a new understanding of the nature and purpose of work, here’s what to do if you hate working.
How To Love Work
1. See yourself as a contributor
This is a build-up to our new understanding of work. Now that you understand that work is more of bringing forth, you need to see yourself as someone who brings forth. Be a contributor. Take pleasure in creating– creating experiences people will enjoy, creating valuable substances, and laudable results.
If production doesn’t excite you, work wouldn’t excite you either. Begin to find personal pride in releasing your potential, and begin to appreciate the sense of fulfillment contribution to society brings. Think about the works of art you love, and the technologies you benefit from, and reprogram your mind to begin contributing too.
If you don’t work, the next generation won’t meet anything, but work is not exertion or invention, it is simply doing what you can do that isn’t visible: as simple as leaving a poem for the world or making the dishes clean for the family.
2. Set goals or have a vision for your life
This is the first step towards liking work— determining the end which you want the several production processes of your life to achieve. Where would I want to be in the next 10 years of my life? Where, in the next 50 years?
This vision or goal would be the motivation for your work. This would be the ultimate satisfaction you want to derive, the ultimate contribution you want to make, and now you are a contributor.
Even the laziest person on earth can dream but a dream in itself is work— it is producing a mental picture that didn’t exist. Dreaming is the first “work” to achieve what you are dreaming of. Once you have a picture of yourself in 10 years, you are one step closer to that picture; the next step wouldn’t be more difficult.
3. Break down the goals into milestones
You then reduce the “big” goal into smaller steps, yearly steps, weekly and daily steps. To win the F1 championship in 5 years, I need to be a firm and fast driver (in 3 years); I need to extensively learn the rules of the game in 1 year; I need to learn how to drive as soon as possible.
Now you have found the first work— learn how to drive. This breakdown can be done no matter what your dream for your life is, and it must be done if you must achieve anything.
Liking work is the product of a mindset (the mindset that takes pleasure in accomplishments or production). This process is indoctrinating you into a process of chain production— the several productions needed to achieve a goal.
Once you get into it, you will value the joy of production more and produce more. Although it usually takes a grind to produce anything, you no longer see the grind, you now see the possibility of another product from you.
3. Eliminate peti-laziness
You probably might have heard that how you do anything is how you do everything. If you don’t eliminate every tiny trait of laziness, like cancer, it might spread to other things. Here’s what I mean:
After you have set your goals, you might be deceived to just release your potential to that area and leave other areas— leave family needs, leave your health and hygiene. Although this was the case for many great inventors— they just isolated themselves and forgot everything else in the world that is not their primary product, doing this will rub you the full joy of accomplishment.
It’s like receiving a Nobel Laureate for the best book on a deathbed or finishing a project and having no one to admire it because your family couldn’t endure your neglect any further and left.
Remember, it is the little works that accumulate into great changes. Don’t overlook the little works in your immediate environment, there’s something that needs to be produced there too, which when produced will give more beauty and meaning to the big works.
4. Record your progress and reward yourself
As you learn to like production and take pleasure in the joy of fulfillment, you need to make sure you are actually doing just that i.e taking pleasure in what you create. That can only happen when you notice what you create.
As I do more work, I have noticed that there is some work that I do and don’t even recognize— I’ve gotten so used to production that it no longer gives me pleasure. I just do the work and look for the next. Recently, I have started taking breaks to look back at all I have done to feel that fulfillment again.
As little as that feeling seems, I have found that it gives me more motivation to work than monetary returns. Don’t get lost in the treadmill of production that it no longer gives you joy. Once it becomes drudgery again, you might hate work or like many, have burnout.
Reward yourself at intervals after production. Reward yourself with a break, a treat, or a movie before you get back to work. It increases your motivation and production level and makes you like work more.
5. Get an accountability partner
Everything is easier said than done. The whole process seems seamless until you start and find that the excitement is gone. Surround yourself with people who value production too. People who can give you a helping hand or who watching them alone can get you on track.
Your values will look absurd if you are among people who don’t hold them. Find someone who hates work too and walk this journey together; you won’t both get discouraged at the same time.
Work can be fun, and should be fun. Go back to work and see it as another opportunity to produce something that would never have existed without your action, see it as another opportunity to contribute to what the next generation will meet. It is the little work that accumulates to big changes.
Olusegun Iyejare is a career coach and certified counselor. He helps individuals discover and maximize their potential to live satisfying lives regardless of obvious limitations holding them back.