Are You Having Fun?

By Bill Hodges

©2000 Hodges Seminars International

In the century before Christ, the philosopher Horace wrote, "Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work." If we must work hard, there is reason to believe we should choose an occupation which will make us happy. John Ruskin, almost 2,000 years after Homer, wrote these words, "In order that people be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it."

I think many people end up in their jobs (paid or volunteer) by default rather than by plan. Like ships without rudders, they drift from place to place until they run aground. Where they stop may not be where they want to be, but they perceive it to be a safer place than being afloat to an unknown destination. Rather than casting off with the next high tide, they move closer to shore and anchor in a port, a decision not born of choice but rather of fear. Little or no thought is given to whether they are fit for the job that waits for them there.

Few among us would tolerate being forced to wear a shoe of the wrong size. Can you imagine the reaction to a shoe salesperson with the audacity to suggest that buying a pair of uncomfortable shoes is okay because if we wear them long enough, our feet will conform to the shoes and they will hurt less or maybe not at all. I would leave that store in a hurry. If you are working hard and donít seem to be getting what you want from life, look carefully at what you are doing and determine whether the job fits you or are you trying to make you fit the job.

The second part of Ruskinís statement concerning our work was that we must not do too much. To me, the phrase "too much" means any amount of anything that ceases to give me pleasure. To some, every minute spent in their craft is sheer pleasure, no matter the number of hours. The key is to stop working when the work ceases to give you pleasure. If that happens in too few hours to make a living in that trade, you are in the wrong line of work.

Ruskinís third condition was that, in order to be happy in our work, we must have a sense of success in it. Maybe this is the most important part of all because, without a sense of success, there is very little spiritual fulfillment in any endeavor. It is this sense of spiritual fulfillment that allows us to feel good about ourselves. It is what heightens our self-esteem and makes us feel that we are accomplishing something important. This feeling of being productiveóto feel usefulóis one of the highest needs of a human being. When it is not provided by our occupation or other activities in which we engage ourselves, no other remuneration can take its place for very long.

Do you feel your job or activities fit you? Do you enjoy the time spent doing it? Do you feel successful doing it? If you do, youíre in the right place.

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