Life is all work, but that may not be a bad thing.
A few days ago, my friend and I were driving to a friend’s house when we got into an honest conversation about life.
We talked about how, as we get older in life, more and more problems pile up that require us to work more.
Right now, we have to deal with working to supporting ourselves, but we also have a lot of other things, such as:
work on exercising and eating well to take care of our health
work to keep our apartments clean by vacuuming, doing the dishes, dusting and other chores
work to keep clean our cars clean and running well
work to maintain relationships with friends, family and significant others
work to take care of a pet
even planning a vacation often takes a lot of work
And more things will add on in the future.
Soon we’ll have all of that and work on supporting a family, work on raising children, work on cleaning up after kids, work on finding a place to live, work on taking care of our parents in old age and so on.
It’s just work, work, and more work.
But, here’s the thing, work is really the best, and perhaps the only option we have.
Take working out for example.
For the past few years, I’ve been working on getting in shape. This means lifting weights 3 to 4 times a week.
Now working to motivate yourself to get to the gym and working on actually lifting the weights is already difficult, but then try adding in injuries.
About two years ago, I finally achieved my goal of bench pressing 225 pounds, something I’ve been working on for a while. Then one day September day, I went mountain biking with a friend. It was a perfect sunny day. We had a lot of fun and we already talking about coming back sometime.
Then on the last run down, I hit a ditch and went flying about 15 feet down the mountain.
When I opened my eyes, my head was in the dirt. I tried to pick up my bike with my right arm, but I couldn’t. Lucky my friend came to help me out and walked me down the mountain. I went to the first-aid office, but was told to go to the hospital.
There I learned I separated my shoulder. After the adrenaline wore off, anytime I moved my arm, the pain felt like a thousand needles going into my skin.
Here I am, trying to get in shape and putting in the work to do so by constantly going to the gym, and I decide to have some fun and go mountain biking and now I have to deal with being injured and work on recovering.
For months I didn’t work out, which caused me to lose a lot of my strength and muscle mass that I spent years building. I also lost a lot of weight, about 20 pounds.
I was not able to lift weights or play basketball, two of my favorite activities.
Although it sucked (a lot), quitting or just doing nothing wasn’t going to do anything for me. Nor was complaining about life, being negative or angry at life.
I had only one option, and it was the best option to take: To work.
I worked on healing my shoulder by constantly icing it, taking multi-vitamins and supplements to help with healing, going to a physical therapist and actually doing the daily exercises he recommended.
It took me about a year to get to the point where my shoulder felt pain-free to move around. But, when I returned to the gym, I lost almost all of my strength. My bench had dropped from 225 lbs to 95 lbs.
It took another year of constantly hitting the gym and slowly building up my strength week after week, before I was finally able to bench 225 pounds again.
Since then, I’ve also hit new personal records in deadlifting, shoulder press, chest press, and other exercises.
Now I could have used my shoulder as an excuse to never work out again or say I’ll never be as strong as I was before, but that wouldn’t have done anything for me.
Even today, injuries continue to happen. I had a go to a chiropractor for a back injury after someone elbowed me during a basketball game and I’m currently dealing with lateral epicondylitis (better known as tennis elbow).
But quitting isn’t going to help. Instead, work will: working on recovering and learning from my injuries, working on stretching, and working on lifting with proper form.
So although work can sometimes seem like a bad thing, it isn’t. Working to have a clean room is better than not working and having a dirty one; working on maintaining relationships is better than doing nothing and being all alone; working to build a good life is better than doing nothing and living a bad one.
Of course, when things go south in life work may seem like the last thing you should do, but give it a try. Push through, and get to work on making things better.
Two books that I’d recommend reading if life seems too difficult are:
The first book is by a well-known psychologist that talks about how changing your perspective can change your life, and the second book teaches people how working and having more discipline in life actually leads to more freedom.
In exchange for a few bucks and a couple hours, a book will give you an enormous amount of valuable information that can help you in life. It’s practically high-robbery. So take advantage of this and read as much as you can.
If you want to check out my list of recommended books, you can find that here.