Do you ever feel miserable while at your job, running your business or working on whatever your occupation is? Do you procrastinate on the tasks you need to get done?
Many of us have struggled with this at one point or another, but the reason isn't always what you think. You think you need another self-help book, to waste less time, to get more motivated or to have more energy.
But, then again maybe it is more than that. Aristotle, one of the greatest philosophers in history, once said, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.“
How This Applies
Maybe your occupation is the problem. Maybe it isn't. It isn't for me to decide. But, I want you to consider all options if you struggle to just get through the workday without losing motivation.
In fact, you absolutely love what you are doing and are truly passionate about it, those other things like procrastination, lack of energy, lack of time, lack of belief, all disappear.
You always make time for going to the movies, playing video games, getting in a round of golf, hanging out with friends, etc., but when it comes to work, you may just want it to end.
Imagine if you had that same positive “get-up-and-go” about work that you have about the other things you love. You would look forward to everyday. You would never need extra motivation.
You would be extremely productive and put out quality work.
There are many lessons to learn in that book, but one of the main ones you should pay attention to is the “10,000 rule”.
When Gladwell was writing this book, he realized that many of the elite performers in just about any industry put in at least 10,000 hours of work to improve at that one skill.
If you want to almost guarantee you'll be good at something, work at it for 10,000 hours.
The problem is that many people bounce around from job to job, business to business, skill to skill, and just become a “jack-of-all-trades”. This means you're okay at a lot of things but not particularly elite at anything.
So, if you want to be successful, you need to find something you are naturally good at or really enjoy because it may take you years to finally be at the top 1% of performers in that area.
If you aren't good at something and don't enjoy the process of getting better at it, you won't want to stick with it long enough to reap the rewards of being elite.
What To Do
- Do you dread workdays? Or do you look forward to them?
- Do you find yourself thinking about other things when you're supposed to be working?
- Do you enjoy what you are doing on a daily basis?
- Is your work interesting to you?
- Do you find yourself reading about your profession in your off hours trying to learn more?
Be honest about your answers. You may even ask the people closest to you about these questions if you are unsure. An outside perspective can help.
If you hate what you are doing, you will never do your best work. Does this mean you should quit?
No, I'm not saying that. In fact, I'm a big believer in not quitting.
But, I also believe, as do many others, that you must search within yourself to pick something that interests you and leverages your talents to be your long-term profession.
This is why it is essential that you ask yourself these questions and find that occupation as quickly as possible, so you can stick to it and master your craft at it, while also enjoying it.
When Aristotle said, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work,” he clearly meant that your performance will suffer if you aren't in the right occupation.
If you ever have done something you hate doing, you know he is right. Look at your natural skills, your hobbies and what you tend to read about the most on your off time to find what industries you should work in.
Are you really in the right line of work?
*This post was originally published 4/22/2016 and updated on 1/30/2020.