Our minds need relaxation and give way
Unless we mix with work a little play.
I had lunch yesterday with one of my favorite people. She is the head of a Non-Governmental Organization that makes a difference around the world by bringing volunteers, money and supplies to support projects in some of the poorest places on the globe. I worry about her sometimes because she never stops. She is raising money, managing a staff of caring people who do their best to stay on top of opportunities for service, makes presentations, motivates volunteers and often keeps her finger in a hole in the dyke. She cares so much and is so dedicated that she often leaves little time for herself. She, like so many of the best people I know has all kinds of demands put upon her time. Like a colleague of mine said one time, “most people only ask for about 10% of my time and they don’t think that is unreasonable, my problem is that there are fifteen people who only want 10%.”
After I left my friend I came home and pulled down a number of items that I wanted to think about and one of them really fits my friend’s situation and is worth considering for ourselves. I wish I knew where I got it so I could tell you the author but unfortunately I don’t know who wrote it. Here is what he said:
According to the world ethic, happiness is not natural – happiness is a pay-packet you earn for putting in the hours. There are, in particular, four erroneous, fearful beliefs about happiness that help make up the work ethic, and they are,
Happiness has to be deserved
Happiness has to be worked for
Happiness has to be earned
Happiness has to be paid for
The work ethic is all about labour: birth is labour, life is labour, love is labour, happiness is labour, work is labour, death is rest. We labour, not for the joy of it, but because we have learned to believe we must. The purpose of the work ethic is to work hard so as to atone for your guilt and unworthiness and thereby "deserve happiness" once more.
"Workaholism" is endemic, and for many of us our life is governed entirely by work. Once upon a time, we worked to live; now, we live to work. Any "life" we do have is merely recovery from work. We work, recover from work, and then work again. We go to the office to work.
After work, we bring home some work with us. For rest, we go to the gym for a work-out. Totally exhausted, we go to therapy to work through our problems – "I’ve done a lot of work on myself," we say. After all that, there’s the house-work! Finally, we hit the sack, too tired to be happy, but our mind is still working and we cannot sleep. No problem! Insomnia is a wonderful chance to get more work done!
The work ethic is motivated by the belief that anything worthwhile requires great work, effort and labour. According to the work ethic: creativity is not inspiration; it’s perspiration; love is a labour, not a joy; success is a fight, it never comes easily; health is about a "no pain, no gain" attitude; salvation is hardest of all – it is a wrestling match with the angels – just ask Jacob. Nothing comes easily according to the work ethic.
We are too busy working to be happy, to be happy. In the last ten years, the average working week has increased by over ten hours to nearly 50 hours a week; the lunch break faces extinction; 6 out of 10 men and 4 out of 10 women work Saturdays; Sundays are now a workday for many. To cap it all, when we dare leave the office at 5pm, there is always one sad, brainless colleague who shouts out, "Part timer", or, "Only doing a half day?" Guilt ensues.
As a society we spend more and more time as a human doing and less and less time as a human being. Indeed, the work ethic despises rest and play. We hardly ever go out to play anymore; instead we go for cardiovascular workouts, business lunches and corporate away days. According to the work ethic, rest is "downtime" – nothing useful is happening. Too much rest and you lose your edge!
Kick the work ethic into touch! When you are relaxed and happy, you perform brilliantly. Remember the old saying: "you do not stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing". Work is an attitude. So too is play. Go out to play!
Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste good.
A millionaire informs his attorney, "I want a stipulation in my Will that my wife is to inherit everything, but only if she remarries within six months of my death."
"Why such an odd stipulation?" asks the attorney.
"Because," he says, "I want someone to be sorry I died."
Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
A barber runs out of his shop and down to the nearest corner where a policeman is standing.
"Officer," he asks, "have you seen a man run by here in the last few minutes?"
"No, I haven’t. What’s the problem?"
"The lousy cheat ran out of my shop without paying me!"
"Does this fellow have any distinguishing features?" the officer asked.
"Well, yes," the barber replies. "He’s carrying one of his ears in his left hand."
Harp: A nude Steinway.
She said: Sitting at the kitchen table after dinner one night, my son-in-law was telling us that he’d finished his training for volunteer firefighting and was showing us his beeper. As he spoke, the beeper let out a shrill "there’s a fire" message.
Bryan nearly jumped over the table getting to the door.
We watched him as he raced for the car and sped up the block to the fire hall.
"It’s wonderful to know our firemen are trained to respond instantly," I said to my daughter. "I didn’t know Bryan could move so fast."
"I hate to burst your bubble, Mom," she replied, "but the first guy there gets to
drive the truck."
I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.
Louisa May Alcott
Everyone was surprised when fastidious, virginal Percy lispingly announced his intention to wed.
"What, you, Percy?" was the amazed reaction. Some skeptics made bets that he wouldn’t go through with it, but Percy fooled them. He even went on a honeymoon.
Upon his return, one of the losers bitingly asked, "Well, is your wife pregnant?"
"I certainly hope so," said Percy with great sincerity. "I wouldn’t want to go through that again!"
Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger.
Franklin P. Jones
The following is supposedly a true story relating to an actual guide and his response to questions.
Swiss mountain guides who always do the same trails can get tired answering the same questions over and over.
An English tourist was giving his guide an especially hard time with silly questions. They were walking through a mountain valley that was strewn with rocks, and the traveler asked, "How did these rocks get here?"
"Sir," said the guide, "They were brought down by a glacier."
The tourist peered up the mountain and said, "But I don’t see any glacier."
"Oh, really?" said the guide. "I guess it has gone back for more.”
Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
Christopher Robin to Pooh
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies.
The editor is somewhat senile.