Over the past few months, I have been getting this revelation about work that I would really like to share with my readers. With you awesome people, that is. When I was a child and in my teens, I absolutely loved school work, and all of the other work that I got to do. It was a privilege to me. A lot of people in the world, I used to tell myself, don’t get to go to school or do all of this awesome work, because they are too poor, or too busy supporting their families.
I am lucky enough (and was lucky enough) to have parents who supported me, so I could go to school unfettered. I didn’t have to worry about bringing home the bacon. My parents took care of that for me, so I could study. I loved to study and I loved to go to work. It was all a major privilege and gain to me.
But as I entered my twenties, I started working at a job with the government, where the opposite viewpoint was held fast. For the first time, I was surrounded by people who hated their jobs, and hated working. They hated everything about it, and they expounded upon it for long periods of time to anyone who would listen. I ended up doing a lot of the listening, because I was young, and a junior member of the team.
That’s When I Was Made To Realize Work Is Bad
It’s interesting to me that I don’t exactly know when the shift happened, but slowly and surely, I started realizing (wrongly I know now) that work was evil, and I had to run far away from it, as far away as possible.
I started hating the job that I had loved only a few months ago. I wanted to make oodles of money very quickly, and then retire on a beach somewhere with a Mai-Tai and a hammock. At the same time, I started reading books about the ‘4 Hour Work Week’ and similar philosophies. It was all in a similar vein, and it all told me that I had to figure out a way, quickly, to not work for the rest of my life.
I started working on random things here and there, that would allow me to live on passive income forever, which is all fine. But more importantly, I started hating everything related to work. Even if I loved it in the beginning, I would get bored of it, or would believe that it was holding me back from travel, and other important things.
My Twenties Were A Hop, Skip, And Jump Away From Work
That’s when I started doing those semi-retirement deals, where I worked like a dog for 2-3 years, saved up a bunch of money, and then quit my job, and travelled until my money ran out. Repeating the process 3 times, I learned a lot about myself, and about this world.
I learned how the world is more similar than different in so many ways, and after a while of travelling, all of the sights look the same, and the only thing that seems to matter is the connections you make.
But more than that, I started realizing that I couldn’t, absolutely couldn’t live the completely retired lifestyle for too long. After maybe 2-3 months of just moving from place to place, exploring, I would get so bored, that I couldn’t handle it anymore. I was miserable. It was just too much. I needed something to do. I would start volunteering or finding other ways to occupy my brain, but it wasn’t enough.
That’s When I Realized Work Wasn’t Evil
Okay, so at this point, I was around my 29th or 30th year of existence, and I had the revelation that I wrote this post to share. I realized in a flash that we weren’t here to run away from work. In fact, our brains, and our bodies are stimulated by the act of work, whatever that work might be for you.
Now, what happens is that we think that we are only here to relax and rest. So we spend all of our time, like I did, running away from work to weekends, travel, and vacations. Or hating work because it is taking us away from all of the rest time we could have without it.
But, I realized from taking time away from work, a lot of time away, that my brain, my body, and my spirit die off if I don’t stimulate them. Travel isn’t stimulating enough for me. Perhaps, it could be for some people. But after a few weeks of travel, just pure travel, I am done. I want to do something more.
I want to write, and create, and build, and nourish. I want to do something extra. That’s perhaps just me. But I don’t think so.
I See A Lot Of This Boredom In People In Thailand
One of the awesome things about moving to Thailand was that I saw first hand what happens when people don’t have to work for a living. Thailand is cheap, and that means that a lot of people spend their time being bored, and doing really nothing useful. They go from party to party, smoking up, drinking, and generally, feeling like they are wasting their lives away.
It isn’t me saying this, but this is based on conversations I have had with people.
But this all changes, when all of a sudden, these individuals discover a talent that they have, or a passion that they lost, and they start working on it full-time. They might be busier than ever, working harder than ever, but they are also happier than ever. It doesn’t have anything to do with passion, although that does help with fulfillment.
It is definitely more about doing work. Not sitting around on a beach somewhere and sipping Margaritas. I see a lot of people doing that on the island that I live on now and I see a lot of dissatisfied, miserable people to boot. Coincidence, I think not.
Work Is Why We Are Here, For God’s Sake
Now, I am not telling you to become a workaholic. Or go crazy for work, and forget that you are a human being, and not a human doing. I am not telling you to become addicted to work, and lose focus of your family, or interests, or hobbies, or self-care.
Everything always has to be conducted in balance.
But I am telling you that as Stoics believe, I believe as well, we are here to work, for god’s sake. Not to sit around on a beach somewhere. In fact, I have done that bit, and it is boring as fuck. So boring that I can’t even imagine doing it again.
I am not telling you to give up on vacations, and breaks, and all of that jazz. But realize, realize this my friend, that we are here, as intelligent human beings, to work. In fact, we are happiest when we are working on something that makes us feel that we are contributing to the world that we live in.
The Contrast Between Workers And Not
The island that I live in has a lot of different kinds of people. There are the Thais who work hard, smile a lot, and have fun with their time here. And there are the Farangs, the foreigners, who come here to rest and relax, who do nothing, who are miserable, who are always taking drugs or alcohol to assuage their misery, and who hate themselves.
I am obviously exaggerating for effect, but this is seriously not far from the truth. The more I live in this world, the more I live in my life, the more I realize that I cannot live without productive, useful, inspiring work.
I cannot and do not want to retire ever. I love working, and I love being useful to the world. It isn’t always the money in my case. A lot of the work I do, I do for free. But I love it so much that I would do it for free for the rest of my life. It inspires me, it helps me grow, and expand. It makes me more of who I am, and it teaches me more and more about myself.
I love the work that I do and I don’t think I could live without it.
What Is That Work For You?
The unfortunate thing is that there is this epidemic nowadays of wanting to get rich quick, and of thinking that if you are not working on your passionate work, then don’t work at all.
These two things combine to create a world in which people don’t want to work unless it’s something that fulfills them, and wanting to work on things that will make them oodles of money with very little work, and a lot of admiration and adulation. That’s why jobs like being a model, actor/actress, or a rock star, are so popular. People don’t realize how much work these jobs actually take.
I understand it completely. I went through that phase myself. But I realize now that first of all, we work not because of the money but because we need to use our brains, bodies, and spirits for something, and second of all, sometimes it takes a while to find work that you are passionate about, so you gotta work at other stuff, with enthusiasm to get there.
That’s the step that most people are missing. Sitting at home and waiting for your perfect job will not work. It just will not.
It’s about keeping on going on, trying new things, and keeping on working on the stuff that matters to you.
Don’t Worry About Passion, Bring Passion To Whatever You Do
I used to worry so much about passion. If I didn’t have a job that I felt extremely passionately, I didn’t want to do it. But slowly, I’m realizing that it isn’t your work’s responsibility to bring passion towards you. It is your responsibility to bring passion to whatever you are doing.
That is why some people can be passionate about cleaning the toilets, and some other people cannot be passionate about raising a million dollars for charity. It depends on the person. The passion that we all want to experience, we believe, unrealistically that it comes from outside of ourselves. But in reality, it comes from within us. That is what this is all about.
That is the insight that I really wanted to share with you. The insight that absolutely changed my life. Instead of searching on the outside for that passion that I craved so badly, I found it within myself. I found it here, deep within me, and this is something I can take with me everywhere.
No matter where I go, and that I really like. That’s something that you can’t lose, because you moved jobs, or you moved countries, or you moved relationships.
We Are Here For Work, What Else Do You Think?
I have had this conversation with so many people over the past few days and months, and I have realized that every time, I say this out loud, that we are here to work, and that’s why the universe works so hard to bring us here, I feel like the devil saying these words.
I feel like the bastard that is telling everyone to hunker down and work. To be hard-working, to stop being lazy, and so on. Its not a good feeling at all. Because I want people to enjoy their lives, and to have fun, obviously.
But I have noticed for myself, I enjoy my free time so much more when I have spent my days doing something that enhances me. Doing work that I feel contributes positively to the world. I feel good about it, and I want to take time off then.
In fact, I feel good about taking a day off and lazing about on the beach, when I spent the days before that, working like a crazy person, doing awesome shit, that motivates and makes me grow. I feel so good about it.
I want that same goodness coming to you.
I Don’t Know About You, But Work Doesn’t Have To Be Evil
It took me years to get over the conditioning that work is evil and I need to avoid it completely. Even now, I speak to some people about my views on this matter, and I feel like they are judging me. I feel like they think I am a complete psycho.
I have had people look at me oddly when I tell them I love doing everything that I am doing. I feel like I am lucky to be alive and able to work on this stuff. I feel so grateful that I am smart enough, and brave enough to work on the stuff that I care about, instead of following the crowd.
And that’s what I want for you.
That’s why I felt it was imperative for me to write this post. So important, in fact, that I cannot wait for you to read it, and send me negative comments. Because if you feel bad after reading this post, it means that I will have triggered something in your minds. And in your normal conditioning.
Work isn’t evil. Work is the reason we are here. Work that appeals to us specifically, to our unique set of genes, talents, skills, and capabilities.
What appeals to you isn’t always going to appeal to me, and vice versa. But we need to find that passion, that stuff, that magical elixir inside of us, and keep bringing it out to everything we do.