According to the Oxford Languages, ‘work’ is defined as “activity involving mental or physical effort in order to achieve a purpose or a result”. This means, work is whatever you invest your time, energy, attention and resources into.
With this definition, work then includes your health and fitness, your relationships, parenting, personal growth, spirituality, character and leisure, because all these take a lot of work. Your life consists of many different domains of work. Your whole life, then, is your work.
You are your work.
You are not a sectioned being, with one slice of work over here, balanced out with one slice of personal life over there. Instead, you are a whole being, unified. You are a category of one.
Each of us is more than our job or chosen profession. People are not robots, programmed to do one thing. You are fullspectrum and multifaceted creature with many varied interests. Although we may like to believe we were born to do just one thing, or perhaps we’re comfortable with only having one career, the reality is, most of us are hardwired or a handful of activities. Most people have one ‘calling’ or ‘vocation’, but expressed in a variety of ways over a variety of platforms – each supporting and intertwining with the others in interesting and powerful ways.
Long gone are the days of graduating from high school or college, joining up with a company and working there for forty years before retiring and collecting a pension. At some point, you must come to grips with the fact that you will do many different things in life. Jobs will come and go, and our careers may change. But in all those experiences, we will evolve. And as we evolve, so does our life’s purpose and the way we express them.
We should see our entire lives as a work of art – like a symphony. And every aspect of it is represented by the notes, melodies and chords that make up the whole masterpiece.
Hence, our task each day is to always align every part of our lives with that symphony, which is: The highest, truest expression of ourselves as a human being. And it doesn’t mean it has to be full of pain, dread and suffering.
Challenges are inevitable, but if we can start to think of work the same way we think of play, treating it as something we do for pleasure, it could change the world. In essence, the same attitude we have toward the pursuits we enjoy doing, we should also have towards work. This goes on to say that work is not a means to an end. It is the end.
Excerpt from Should I Quit by Christal Asong