Finding balance is easier said than done.
A common theme across all cultures is that if you work hard, the rewards of your efforts will be fruitful. The seeds you sow today will in one way or another grow into something six months to a year from now. What the seeds you plant grow into is up to how much of the right effort you put into your garden. With that being said, let’s break down what hard work is, and how much you need.
When I was a kid, I remember the first garden we had. It was along the edge of the east side of our deck and was probably 10 feet long by 5 feet wide. We had strawberries, a few tomatoes, and some green beans. There may have been other vegetables, but I hardly remember. What I do know is that this garden didn’t do very well, because it was on the east side of our house. There was limited sunlight, and we didn’t put much time into it.
Then one summer, we decided to till up some ground on the south side of our house. This plot was much more significant, and it was roughly 30×30 feet in size. Unlike the first garden, this was all grass. When we marked it off to start tilling, all we had were shovels, a green manual hand tiller, and our muscles. After a few days of trying to turn over ground that didn’t seem to want to move for a 9-year-old, my dad decided to borrow our neighbors’ small excavator/tractor. We had excellent soil in less than 2 hours.
This garden has provided us with many fruits and vegetables over the years, and through successful rotating practices, as well as many summer mornings pulling weeds, we kept it nice. The whole family worked hard, and the work was distributed evenly for the most part. However, with the tilling, for example, it was much more efficient to have the excavator do the hard work than a couple of kids toiling over tough soil for days. Yes, there was work in the communication to borrow the machine, but the job was finished much sooner.
Humans have been digging up the earth for thousands of years; as time has gone one, we have made massive improvements. One aspect to note in this is that while hard work is necessary (as we define what hard work is), it is more important to work hard, efficiently. It may have taken up to a month of manual tilling every day to do what the excavator did in a couple of hours. There is a significant difference between being busy and being productive.
We all have to do both whether we want to or not; find joy in the cycle.
When it comes to work and play, a lot of us get into the routine of rushing through the morning, going to school/work, coming home mentally/physically exhausted, and we unwind with a movie, a nice meal, or for some, the work continues with children. Some of us wake ourselves up with caffeine, others with exercise. Some of us unwind with an intoxicant such as alcohol, or Netflix. Whatever your choices may be, knowing your limits, and respecting your body are crucial to a long and happy life.
Some of us are a type A and workaholics, and won’t sit still for more than 5 minutes; others, are type B and are okay with a regular work week, and unwinding in the evenings. Now with the shift from the industrial age to the information age, we can work from our phones or personal computers at most jobs, at any time of the day, almost anywhere around the world. What a time to be alive.
With this being said, there are some things to keep in mind. Whether you like working or not, we have to do it if we are to eat and have a place to sleep. Some people have the mindset of “The more I work, the more hours I put in, the more money I’ll have, and the more I will be able to enjoy life.” This is a good work ethic, but it may not be the most efficient way to spend your time. After all, time is not renewable, and we cannot get more. There are a million ways to get paid. (Please be ethical/moral about what you do.)
Just like the garden example, having a big plot allows you to sow many different seeds. Of course, maintenance is required for all of what you plant, and it is ideal to have a delicate balance of space to walk, (relaxation) and areas for your veggies. On the other hand, the more open space you have, the more room there is for weeds to grow. Plant too many seeds and nothing will be able to develop to its full potential because your attention is going to be divided thinly.
Keeping this balance in mind, working 18 hours a day is possible. However, I only recommend it if that is what blends with your personality. On the other hand, some people are entirely content with working the 9-5 and spending the additional 70 or so hours relaxing and enjoying their time. Some people though, (and this is who it is geared towards) love to complain, and not do anything about it. I am sure that all of us have been guilty of this at some point or another. My suggestion? Do something about it.
The results of what you do are determined by how you look at it.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum of work and play, be aware of who you are, what your needs are, and what you love doing. Life is too short to spend our time doing things we hate. Keeping that in mind, it is essential that continually do things that are difficult and make us uncomfortable. Otherwise, we will not move forward and grow positively.
There is a fine line between doing something challenging, and doing something that is downright impossible. I am not going to start trying to become a professional golfer at the age of 40 if I’ve never played golf in my life. I do enjoy skateboarding. However, I only picked it up this past summer. The chances of getting my own video game, or going to the X games are very slim. With the changes in technology, working in the same town, doing the same job forever does not have to be your entire life.
Someone who has been guiding me through decisions over the past few months told me not to necessarily love the way I make money, but to love the lifestyle that my job creates. This has put into perspective what I have done in the past, and what I will do in the future. Most jobs require you to be a part of the company for several years before you can even think of moving up. Some places take 30 years to get in a position where you determine your schedule.
These days are coming to an end, with a huge surge in entrepreneurship and business, where people are creating an income from home, and are able to help more people as well. This means more time with family, less time doing things we dislike, and more time to enjoy life. It has been said that now is safest time to be alive. Yes, there are tragedies, but as a whole, the human species is coming together more and more every day.
Make the changes you need to, reach out to people through social media or mutual friends, and really ask yourself how you’d like to spend your time here on Earth. If you’re perfectly happy with your career and where you’re at, I thank you for reading this far anyway. If you aren’t but are not sure what to do, check out some other articles I’ve written, or leave a comment/question down below!
Thank you for reading, I would love to hear your thoughts, feelings, perspective, questions, or opinions on this topic! Be the reason someone smiles today.