Working for work’s sake: Hard work isn’t enough

Work: it’s often presented as this wonderful thing that is just automatically good.
Like being hard-working: that’s a great thing.
Working hard is a great thing.
Work is wonderful.
But it seems like working is only as good as the work itself is.
If we’re working on doing something very bad, that is also work.
It’s possible to be very hard-working, diligent, industrious, doing very bad things.
So it seems like simply being productive, hard-working, by itself, it’s not enough to say that it’s good.
It has to be the right thing at the right time and done in the right way.
So, there’s no point in just working for work’s sake.
In fact, being clever and coming up with ways to reduce the amount of work we need to do is a great part of the human tradition.
Like inventing tools.
Somebody felt the need to dig a hole, started to claw with their hands, and they can be very hard-working, but then somebody must have found a nicely shaped rock and started digging with the rock, and then that came easier.
And then they started building custom-made shovels that would have a long handle so you could put more strength into it and be able to dig a hole with much greater ease than to claw with your hands.
So it’s possible that the person digging with a shovel may be able to dig that hole with a lot less work than the person who is clawing with their hands.
Now, if you saw somebody clawing with their hands to dig a hole, would you think more about “That’s a really hard-working person”, or more like “That person is missing a useful tool.” Now it may be the same in our lives.
There’s nothing great about digging a hole with your hands if you have a chance to get a shovel.
Now, it does seem like there is still value in this idea of working hard for its own sake.
Getting in the habit of working hard, even if you’re doing something useless, it can still help in training to be hard-working.
So if you spend a week digging a hole with your hands, not that I recommend actually doing that, but it would certainly give some training for very hard effort.
So there is, in that sense, some benefit.
Even working on useless or bad things, it does help to train the ability to work hard.
And then those same skills, that same discipline, can be applied to better things.
But I think it’s worth remembering that it’s not so great by itself to simply be hard-working.
We have to find something that is good to work on, and work on it in a good way.
And since that isn’t always clear, it’s not always clear what is the best way forward, it seems like one approach is simply to start working on something that I feel good about.
Something I feel good about, put some effort into that, even though I don’t know if it’s the right thing, I don’t know if it’s the best use of my time and energy, but I will start working on that, and then go from there.
It feels like a good thing to start working on, and over time, I will continue to review it, and always adjust.
Always adjust my work, so that I can be working on the best thing possible, at the right time, in the right way.
Because when hard work is applied to a good thing, then it seems like wonderful results can happen.

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