Why “How Good Can You Stand It?”

Do you enjoy your work? The majority of us would say, “Sort of”, or “Sometimes.”

Most of us spend the majority of our time working. Whether it’s sitting at a desk, teaching children at home or school, operating machinery, or driving a police cruiser–it consumes most of our waking hours.

I’ll venture that no one enjoys every moment of every day, even those of us who love our work. Why is that? Two reasons are at the top of the list: the first is that everything includes tasks that we do not resonate with–cleaning brushes for an artist, edits for a writer, administrative work for a consultant, or scrubbing up for a surgeon. The second reason is more pervasive–most of our society defines work as “laborious duty” rather than “meaningful action.” We’ve programmed ourselves to dislike anything associated with work. Does it really need to be this way?

For example I love to write and share my ideas. I usually look forward to the time I’ve scheduled to write my weekly newsletter. Yet I rarely work on it ahead of time, and there are days when I seriously think about skipping it, or sending a past issue like a TV rerun–because it’s work.

Then the minute I sit down at my computer (or take paper and pen in hand), the words flow and I am enjoying myself. Sometimes I have to battle a bit to stay focused on completing my article, but mostly I am happy and I always finish. Reminding myself that I love to write, or of the encouragement from my readers, really helps me to stay focused. But why do I struggle sometimes?

The difference in struggle vs. enjoyment is whether I think of the task as just a laborious duty, or part of my work–my life’s work of communicating and teaching. When I have the second mindset, I accomplish things more quickly and am happier. What’s really strange is that I used to be frustrated much of the time I was even doing things I enjoyed. I realized that my program was invading my happiness.

In addition, there are things that are part of our vocation we have to do, and even after putting our program aside, we REALLY do not like them. Sometimes we can enlist help from others who enjoy that work, sometimes we just need to do it ourselves. When we have to do the unpleasant task ourselves, I find two things helpful:

  • Telling myself “this too shall pass”
  • Remembering the bigger picture. For example, housekeepers at a Four Season’s hotel enjoyed their work of cleaning rooms when they remembered the bigger picture of creating a delightful holiday for a family or relaxing retreat for a business traveler.

I remember when I was in college, during study time I wanted to be out with friends, and much of the time when I was out with friends I felt guilty that I was not studying. How productive was that? I wonder how different my college experience would have been if i had allowed myself to relax into the situation at hand: school or friends.

That’s the basic premise of How Good Can You Stand It?  It’s about allowing ourselves to relax into what’s at hand, let go of judgements and truly focus on what’s before us. Sometimes we even create a great, magical moment. For most of us it takes daily, small steps to change our habitual thought patterns because our program does not allow for good in our work. I believe a shift in attitude can help us create that.

Our work lives can be good for the most part, and we can have a large role in creating that for ourselves. How? One way is to focus on creating one moment of joy each day.

Just one moment you ask. Is that enough? I think yes, for two reasons: first, one moment is easy so most of us will try. More important, one moment of true joy will impact our whole day. Here’s how.

What do YOU want to create? If your answer is, “I want to create a joy in my work”, then join us to learn and share easy, daily practices that will helps us to transform and help us to Create Joyful Work. How good can YOU stand it?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Why “How Good Can You Stand It?”

  1. Really appreciated the reminder to connect in to my ‘bigger work’ when the administivia is getting me down.
    Thanks, Lisa!

    • Thanks so much Deb. Funny to hear that stuff gets you down as I think of your radiant smile. Good to know that we are all human!