An image of a office of people working compared to an office of people dreaming

It’s Not Enough to Be Industrious

There are two kinds of people in this world, those who love Monday mornings and everyone else. We have complicated relationships with our work, which makes sense, given that we spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our spouses, partners, and children. A relationship that demanding is bound to have some baggage.

Henry David Thoreau, the Transcendentalist philosopher from Concord and author of Walden once said, “It’s not enough to be industrious. Ants are industrious. What are you going to be industrious about?” Thoreau wanted us to do meaningful work, something that made a positive difference. If you’re the kind of person who loves Mondays, I’m guessing you love your job. This post isn’t for you.

If you’re in the second category of people, you may despise your job, hate everything about it, and feel locked in. Where else would you go? I don’t know, but I think Thoreau’s call is worthwhile. Even if you have a job that requires eight to twelve hours a day, you can still make progress on the real work of your life. You’ll probably be tired after a long day of work, the house will need to be cleaned, and if you have kids, then parenting will consume whatever energy you have left – trust me, I know.

Despite everything working against you, I hope that tonight or during your lunch break, you hear Thoreau’s call to do meaningful work. I hope you find the courage to do what you’ve always wanted to do. You’re not stuck or without hope. Write your novel, go back to school, and launch a website that will sell your homemade pottery. Do the work you were called to do, and never let your job be the reason you fail to live your life.

Until tomorrow, read slowly, take notes, and apply the ideas.


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