This story was originally posted on the happiness blog by Amarvani.
Is work important to our lives? If yes, how did work get such a bad name? How did we arrive a point in our lives as humans where most people despise their work? The Gallup poll that says that 85% people hate their jobs has been cited quite often on this blog.
Is work important to our lives? I am going to argue here that work is the most important thing about our lives. People say that family is most important, but they don’t realize that they wouldn’t be able to raise their families if it wasn’t for the work they do.
Before we get down to understanding why work is important to our lives, let us just try to understand what work is.
What is work?
As per the dictionary, work is ‘exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something.’
That means work is a way to produce an outcome. The method of work may be physical or intellectual.
The below are reasons why we work, and why work is important or perhaps the most important thing about our lives.
1. Work gives us purpose
If treated right, work is not only the source of money that it is made out to be. It is also the source of purpose is our lives. It allows us to lead a meaningful and purposeful life.
The purpose of life is to be happy, and one of the most important ways we can be happy is by doing meaningful work. What is meaningful work? Work becomes meaningful when we feel what we do, matters in the micro and macro level of things. When we do work, that in some way, makes the world a better place, we find that work meaningful and not drudgery.
The reason most people hate their jobs is because their work doesn’t give them any sense of purpose, and it is only a way for them to make money at the end of the month.
2. Work helps us build self-respect
Our work is the source of our self-respect. When we work and contribute positively to a purpose or a mission, that is ours, or that is something we believe in, we feel good about ourselves.
Work is the source of self-respect. If we don’t do productive and meaningful work, we feel that we lack in confidence and do not feel really feel good about our lives. One of the most important reason we do anything in life is to feel good, and work is perhaps the most important source of feeling good.
3. Work helps us make money to fulfil our dreams
What is money, really? Money is fuel. Money is the fuel to achieve whatever it is that we want to achieve. Without work, we cannot generate that fuel. Only if you have fuel, you would be able to drive the car of your life to somewhere. Without work, unless you are the Reserve Bank of your country, you cannot generate money. Therefore, work is such an important thing, because without it, there would be no way to general financial value, which is money.
4. Work is our identity
Think about it, whenever you go to a social or even a professional gathering, what do people ask you- ‘what do you do?’ What you do becomes who you are. Ideally, work should be an extension of who we are as people. If you do work that expresses your individuality, you have the best kind of job that doesn’t feel like work.
Work is your identity. What is more important than identity?
5. Work is THE only productive way to live life
Imagine what would we do with our lives if we didn’t have work to do, and be productive? Work is the most important thing about yours and my life because without work, how the heck would we spend our lives? Thankfully, there are things to be done in the world, and problems to be solved. They can only be solved through the medium of work.
If we didn’t have work, life would be idle and meaningless.
6. Work allows us to give direction to our lives
I say it quite often that self-awareness is at the root of happiness in life. Without self-awareness, we wouldn’t know in which direction to take our lives. Once we begin to have a certain level of self-awareness, we can guide our lives in the direction of work, through which we can express what we have learnt about ourselves.
We won’t be able to know what to do with self-awareness, if there was no way to express it through the medium of work.
7. Work allows us to build a family and make friends
Work allows people to do other things with life, like have a personal and social life. If there was no productive work, people would not be able to have divide their lives into different productive units. Family is one of the most important part of life, concurrently with work, and an important source of happiness.
However, when we don’t have work or we don’t like our work, it affects our personal life as well. It also affects our social life. That is the reason work is the most important pie of the pie graph of your life.
8. Work makes us happy
Work is the most important source of happiness that is if we choose the right kind of work, based on self-awareness. When I write something important makes me happy, and that’s the reason I do. I love the stage hence, I speak and am also a stand-up comedian. I also help companies in speaking to their consumers and generating marketing insights at depth through the medium of qualitative marketing research, and I love that piece of work too.
So, over the last few years, I have tried to align my work life around pieces of work that make happy, using which I make the world a little happier, to my mind.
I am still operating at a smaller scale and entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk are at the pinnacle of work that’s meaningful and that doesn’t feel like work.
That is why they say that the most important thing about life really is to decide what to work on, because that would determine the quality of your days, and that of your happiness.
9. Work helps in leaving a legacy
When we create something through our work, like products, books, companies, we are able to outlive our lives. Just look around. Some of the greatest companies in the world have the names of their founding fathers.
HP- David Packard and Bill Hewlett
P&G- William Proctor and James Gamble
McKinsey and Company- James O. McKinsey
These are a few examples of great work by entrepreneurs who created companies that would live forever, hundreds of years beyond their lives. Authors who wrote great books through their lifetimes like Ayn Rand have become immortal through their work, and left a universal legacy. Work helps us leave a legacy. I look at this happiness blog as a part of my legacy since it would help people find happiness long after I am gone.
10. Work is a means to make a productive contribution to the society
Business is a part of the society and it operates within the society. We need to work because work is the only way there is to make a positive contribution to society. All businesses exist and operate within the society and solve a human problem.
Businesses are problem solving entities.
Restaurants solve the problem of eating out while entertaining ourselves. Hardware manufacturers like Microsoft and Apple solve the problem of technology from a hardware perspective. Software companies like Facebook solve the problem of social or business software. All their employees operate and help serve the purpose of the company which is to solve a human problem and make the world a better place.
Therefore, work is the only productive way to contribute to society. That is why, we work, and we try to be useful to the world around us.
11. Work is a means of learning and growth
There are skills which can only be learnt by doing. Entrepreneurship is one such skill. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs of our world didn’t finish college. Many didn’t even finish school. However, they worked and worked and became better at what they did over the years.
If we don’t work, we simply won’t grow professionally. If we don’t grow professionally, we won’t grow any other way either. Therefore, work is important for the personal as well as professional growth of our lives.
12. Work allows us to express ourselves
Work doesn’t only give our lives purpose as mentioned earlier, it also allows us to express that purpose. It allows us for self-expression. We express ourselves through purpose. I have written about purpose several times on this blog, and since we can only find happiness through purpose, work is the way to express your purpose. The problem with most of the society is that they don’t like their work because it’s purposeless. They don’t use work to express their true selves. Their work doesn’t inspire them, and hence they feel it is a monotonous chore.
If we do work which is extension of who we are, we would find joy in it.
13. Work is a means to make the world a better place
This blog is an important piece of my lifework. Through this blog, I want to inspire people to find their happiness. That ways, I would be doing my small bit to make the world a better place. Work is the only way to make the world a better place. So, do your work carefully. What you do, solves a human problem, and that ways, in some way, you end up making the world a better place.
The goal is to do important, significant work, where you feel inspired to work. When you do that, you don’t feel that work is a meaningless thing. You also find meaning and depth in it, which is important for you to find your work worthy.
14. The purpose of work is to improve human life
Work improves human life. It could be any industry- be it content, or automotive, or technology- the purpose of work is to improve human life though the medium of production. Every industry produces an output and that output goes on to making human life better in some significant way.
15. Work creates meaning in our lives
A lot of people wonder how to find meaning in life, or does life have meaning? There is no meaning that exists inherently in life. We need to create our own meaning. One of the ways to create and live a meaningful life is through the medium of purposeful work. When you do work that inspires you to get up every morning, and get down to work, you find meaning in your heart. However, when you do work that you have no emotional connection with, you find that work purposeless and meaningless. That is where dissonance happens between you and the definition of work.
Therefore, find and do work that you find meaningful. What you would work on, is the most important part of your life.
In Conclusion- The importance of work
The reason I felt important to write this piece is because work gets a lot of bad name in society. People find work dull, boring and meaningless. That is not the problem of work per se. That is because people don’t find the time and effort to find work based on self-awareness. They do anything that comes their way, and then complain later work is drudgery.
It is high time that we give work a good name. Work is the perhaps the most important source of finding meaning and purpose in life, and should be treated accordingly. Some people who respect their work say that work is worship. I agree. Work is worship.
Thank you for reading. Please clap for the story if you enjoyed reading it. It keeps me going. :)