Working hard

I was at the gym a few months ago, during the spinning class, which is at the time my favorite, killing myself to maintain the rhythm the instructor was encouraging us to keep. For me specifically, that means to focus on the present, to pay attention at my breath, at how my body (and legs, in particular) feels and try to really listen the music, in order to adjust, if needed. To push myself past the sweat, the pain, the clothes or hair that bother me and to take one more step, to spin one more time, to push one foot up while the other pushes back. And again. And again. And then again. When I feel I need to stop, I remember myself to keep going, as pain is temporary and that I only have to take to opportunity to be active now, in this hour, as there is no time to do it later in the day/night. “So this is it, let’s do it!” I tell myself and I keep on going. Other times, I simply ignore the voices in my head. What do they know anyway?

At the time I am now referring to, there was a lyric in one song which make me think. I forgot the lyrics and have no idea what’s the title of the song. But it made me think about hard work. More precisely on What does hard work mean? Do I value hard work and why? Most importantly, why do I seem to value more the results of hard work than the ones of “easy” work? That if there is such a thing as easy work.

I find it intriguing how the perception one has towards any type of work influences the perception one has towards the results. I value work, in its many forms and shapes, and I believe there are little other things which produce as much joy, self-awareness and boost self-esteem in the same manner work does. Focusing on doing something, being intentional and producing needed results are great opportunities for learning and succeeding.

When I can’t even trust that I will find the same activity hard each time I perform it, then how can I trust two (or more) people relate in the same manner to a specific activity? Who defines “hard” and Why should I care? There are several things I can count on, though, things which contribute to assessing something as being difficult/hard. And that is the resistance I put toward it during implementation phase. Working out brings more satisfaction when I push my limits: my mind goes on saying “no, no, I can’t continue”, but my body keeps going on, taking one more step. Writing brings satisfaction only after I sit down and keep going despite all the pop-ups in my mind with things I need/should/could do. But satisfaction is brought by “easy” work as well. How we define what’s easy, though, remains to be seen.

As Ray Dalio was mentioning in his book, Principles, there are positive consequences of activities which imply temporary discomfort, consequences for which all the pain is worth it.

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