“When a person sets to work, even if it is the most unqualified, primitive, simple work, the human soul calms down. As soon as a person starts to work, all the demons leave him and cannot approach him. A man becomes a man.” — Thomas Carlyle
Work provides essential nourishment to the human mind and soul. The best way to experience long-lasting happiness and fulfillment is to perform meaningful work on a consistent basis.
Any kind of work, whether it involves physical labor or mental gymnastics, gives us an opportunity to use our minds and bodies. If your mind and body remain idle for a long time, they begin to turn on themselves initiating a vicious, self-sabotaging cycle making your and other people’s lives extremely difficult. The only way to get out of this downward negative spiral is to do meaningful and aligned work.
It’s sad that enjoying an early retirement and living an idle and passive life has become a major goal amongst professionals in the modern world. However, it doesn’t take long for continual idleness to become a torturous hell in itself.
Your blissful paradise doesn’t lie on a distant, exotic island where you can sip piña colada for days on end. Rather, it lies in doing meaningful work that aligns with your core values and goals. The finest avenue to invite joy and inner peace into our lives, as Marcus Aurelius suggested, is to perform proper human work.
Having said that, like all things, you must practice moderation in your professional life as well. Being a workaholic is not a noble trait, after all, the word itself has the suffix “-aholic,” meaning the essence of addiction in it, which is never good.
Think of your work as a medium to subdue the woes of life for yourself and others, not as an escape route. Think of it as an instrument to serve others, to get aligned with your higher self, to experience stillness and calm, and to unlock deeper realms of spiritual consciousness within you.
As Leo Tolstoy puts it, “Work is necessary. If you want a good disposition of your spirit, work until you become tired. But not too much. Not until you become exhausted. A good spiritual disposition can be destroyed by excessive work as well as by idleness.”