When you fake appreciation of a shitty birthday gift, entertain an unexpected visitor with false enthusiasm, or even fake the ecstasy of a partner's touch, you have to sell a little piece of your soul. In the realm of work, we love to play pretend where it almost becomes second nature. We invest an absurd amount of time faking interest in things, convincing ourselves that we must be passionate about every single challenge that crosses our path.
But hold up - This is work we're talking about. Let's be realistic and not go chasing rainbows, expecting passion to blossom from every task. The reality is that most of the work we do won't have immediate visible benefits for ourselves or the people we know, other than a paycheck and a line on our resumés. — It's simply a job. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not noble or lacks value, importance, or the need to care. It’s just that the connection to a larger purpose can sometimes feel abstract.
So, here's a valuable tip:
Commit yourself to your work and strive for excellence. Understand your role and how your efforts contribute to the broader value chain, know how your work impacts the next person in that chain. But don't burden yourself with the expectation of masking or pretending to be passionately invested in the bigger, macro task that benefits the organization.
Let's chase that: Instead of faking it, latch onto the sweet, sweet joy and fulfilment you actually get from the act of working, using your talents, collaborating with others, and lending a helping hand to those in need, all while receiving recognition for your efforts. To do this you have to understand what you’re looking for in the transaction of work. And let’s face it, this isn’t something they teach in school.
Sure, keep your focus on the bigger picture and the grand impact your company aims to make in the world. But let's also be real here, that concept can often feel distant and abstract. Right now, at this very moment, let's shift our attention to savouring today, maybe even the next hour. Embrace the challenges that come your way and relish in the opportunity to showcase your talents.
Oh, and let's not forget the beauty of collaboration, my fellow humans. We are social creatures, pack animals even, and there's something special about finding pride within a pride. Even conflicts can be enjoyable if they lead to positive outcomes for everyone involved.
Fully embrace your human moments— the fears, jeers and tears. The laughs, gaffs, and failed attempts – they are all the catalysts for personal growth and progress.
If we genuinely want to find joy in our work or anything else in life, we need to tap into the essence of deriving satisfaction from our efforts. It seems like this sense of satisfaction is slipping away from us.
We’re becoming rabid consumers - society and tech spoon-feeding us and constantly bombarding us with ready-made answers and solutions. Right now creativity is under threat as artificial intelligence starts to supplant what it means to be innovative.
Escaping the clutches of helplessness and nihilism calls for the need to engage in creative thinking. It's about envisioning what's possible and then taking action to make it a reality. Paint a vision for yourself, and then get your ass in gear to make it happen.
Don’t live vicariously through the lives you see on Instagram.
But we’re easily annoyed innovators: every generation is ticked off at the younger folks for not working hard enough and at the older crowd for grinding too damn much. It's a never-ending cycle of resentment. But we've been bamboozled into thinking that effort itself is the enemy. It's like those late-night ads for gimmicky kitchen gadgets—"There's gotta be a better way!"
Sure, you can avoid the pains of effort—but there will be trade-offs. The truth is, the quality of our work almost always benefits when we genuinely care and show up with gusto and enthusiasm. Not doing so not only cheapens the outcome of our work but also diminishes our sense of contribution.
Starting today, pay attention to areas where minimizing effort is the focus. This doesn’t mean sacrificing quality or having a lower-quality work experience in the name of efficiency. Instead, consider how you and those you work with can apply themselves more effectively.
Let's embrace the joy of working in a way that makes us feel good. It’s not about doing less - just doing it with genuine enjoyment. Let’s build cultures that access dedication, genuine care, and unwavering effort as a vital role, essential elements to build a sense of excellence and growth we achieve.
In a world obsessed with shortcuts and quick fixes, let's not sell ourselves short. There is satisfaction to be found in the very brief journey you’ll have on this spinning cosmic marble, my friend. You can revel in the purpose and integrity that comes from doing good and meaningful work.
Remember, your career is not just about work—it's about life. It's about living with intention, purpose, and a healthy dose of humor. So, learn to honor and apply your unique style, your unapologetic effort, and find purpose in everything you do, whether it’s work, play, or relationships.
If you’re eager to become more fluent in who you are and how to derive joy from a career that matters to you - let’s get into it.
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