He who works the hardest wins!
We live in a world obssessed with work. Work is great. Doing things is healthy, in a way, but being consumed with winning and competition is pointless and not healthy at all. So you make a ton of money or you achieve your goal to travel the world? So what? It doesnt make you any better than anyone else. There’s no first place ribbons given out at death that you take with you into the afterlife.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m NOT saying don’t have goals and dreams or don’t be competitive. This isn’t about handing everyone a trophy. I’m talking about focus. If your legacy was simply about how much you aquired, or how hard you worked compared to others, you’ve achieved nothing of value.
One time I interviewed for a part time job at a crematorium. I was going to be picking up the dead bodies at the hospital and other places and bringing them back to be cremated. I met with the owner. We talked about the job but I also asked him what lessons he had learned about life by owning a place like this.
He had two answers.
1) Everybody dies with a ‘todo’ list left unfinished.
2) We spend an incredible amount of money to help keep someone alive for a few extra months but what’s the point? They eventually die and now the family is deeply in debt. There’s no reason for it in the long run. Everyone dies and all that money and effort for a few extra hours was for naught.
That meeting had a profound impact on me.
Everyday I push myself to ‘do’ things. When I have a day where I’m not productive I feel like it was a wasted day. Why? Because we’ve been programmed that way. Society loves to get us to work harder and be more efficient because that’s how people make money. Like I said earlier, work is great and there’s joy and value in it, but just ‘being’ is something that we should actually celebrate more. We need to know that our value comes from God and what He thinks of us, not what people think, and He thinks you’re pretty amazing.
Are you breathing? Are you healthy? Are there people who love you? Do you love them?
So what if you don’t write your masterpiece today? So what if you don’t work a 100 hours this week on your business? What if you don’t complete that ToDo list?
You still die one day and one of three things will happen:
1) You and your work will eventually be forgotten.
2) Maybe you’ll be famous and someone else will come along and write your biography but you’ll have no control over what they say.
3) Someone will take the business, art, or project you worked on; and run it into the ground, destroy it, or use it in a way you would never have wanted.
And there’s nothing you can do about any of it.
I see all these posts online about hustling and winning and all that matters in life is getting to the end with your dreams realized and I think, so what? So you worked hard? You’re still gonna die like the rest of us. We all have the same grave size. You didn’t actually win anything. Whatever trophies you win in life eventually find their way into the garbage when you die.
I do love to achieve things. I get it, I really do. I love working hard, and reaching a goal or crossing things off my to do list, but no one ever gets to tie their life up in a nice little bow at the end and hand it over. Life will be taken from you. You’ll have your todo list one day and it’ll still be there, unfinished, when you die the next day, and no one will pick it up for you and finish it. It will have no value except that it consumed your life. Have a todo list to help keep your life on track but don’t let it become your life. Working all the time and ignoring your health or family are short term sacrifices that sometimes have to be made. But when was the last time you sacrificed your work for your health or your family? Almost no one believes that work is the most important thing in our life and yet we treat it as it is. As though our work defines us.
I know a lot of pastors and religious leaders who believe the work they do is so important that they are willing to sacrifice their health and families in order to pursue this great calling. They see the sacrifice of Jesus and how He had no one with Him when He died and they believe unless their life reflects that they have not given enough. The problem with that idea is its not healthy at all. There’s only one Messiah, and you are not Him. Jesus gave up everything so you would be able to know true health. Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Everything He lost when He died He eventually regained. Remember, the people He went to visit after His resurrection were His friends and family that had deserted Him. He went back to them to comfort them and let them know they were still loved. He wasn’t mad at them and still saw potential in them. If you believe that not having friends or healthy relationships is a sign of your commitment to the cause you might need to take another look at what you’re serving and building.
LIFE IS NOT A COMPETITION
If you wake up today and decide to eat an extra piece of bacon or swim by the pool instead of working on that business or project why does it matter? So what if someone else beats you? Who came up with the lie that life is a competition? Why do we think there’s a finite amount of resources out there we all have to fight over? There’s more than enough to go around.
Should you get up early and go for your dreams and all that? Sure. It makes life fun. But please don’t beat yourself up for not working the hardest or that you decided to enjoy the moment and watch TV with your kids while someone else only sees theirs a few hours a week because they were too busy ‘hustling’.
In the end, you can’t take memories with you either. So if you never made it to Paris like you wanted or you never had children or never started that business relax.
The way to not live with regret is definitely to get out and do things. But in the end there’s no point in hustling so hard that you miss out on life. It goes by in a blink. Don’t regret THAT. Don’t beat yourself up for sleeping in or hanging with friends while others are working at the office. Go sit by a pond or have coffee with a friend. There’s no competition for enjoying the moment.
Don’t be afraid to simply be.
There’s a lot of hustle porn out there. Its garbage.
Make your art. Build your business. Start a family. Love your neighbors. Those are all great things but life is unpredictable.
Sometimes your art is terrible. Your business fails. You can’t get pregnant. Your neighbors hate you. It doesn’t mean anything. Its just life. Sometimes you procrastinate when others are working. So what? They don’t get a prize. They don’t win anything and you’re not a loser. Sometimes procrastination can be a good thing. Listen to your body. Find your own rhythm.
If you’re life is all about climbing the next mountain top eventually you run out of mountains. If you’re life is about being in the moment there’s an endless supply just waiting to be discovered. If the hustle brings you joy then that’s great. But if it doesn’t then that’s great too.
Do what you can to enjoy today. It might be all you have and whether you ‘do’ anything or not you still get to ‘be’ and that should be celebrated. You exist. You lived.
Human life is one of the greatest miracles in the universe. Simply existing is the greatest mathematical phenomenon ever. We are all contributors to a larger story and there are no small parts. Even if your life is quiet and simple and quickly forgotten once you pass on, you still matter.
Enjoy the music. Enjoy the sunsets. Enjoy the laughter. Enjoy the food. Enjoy your friends and family.
Life is like a morning mist. Here for a brief time and then evaporating through our fingers. Stop trying to hold on by doing. Enjoy the wonder of the moment by being present in the mist and let go.