Being out of school for around 8 months now, and with only a part time job and the rest of the time free I am coming to the conclusion that free time is extremely over rated. To the point that we may instinctively dislike it. May instinctively understand that in order to improve and grow as beings we have to work hard. I notice that when I am working hard at something my life is way better. Hard work is rewarding and a life with a good amount of work will be a life of enrichment because humans life to work. We live to be utilized not to stagnate, and that is why when we are stagnating in any way, we atrophy while when we use our muscles and our brains ect, they grow better and more healthy. We get endorphins from achieving something we worked hard for. This is why I believe hard work must be a part of life. Here is how I think everyone should implement this into their lives.
The process of building discipline
The only thing keeping most people(in developed countries who are not in anyway handicapped and who have ample free time) from making these achievements and feeling these highs, is that they still need to cultivate the discipline first.
Discipline, the mental muscle needed to sustain any effort needs to be conditioned to the level it is needed. It shouldn’t be like “hey kid, start working 8 hour work days right now!” I don’t think that’s healthy because that is like saying, “hey kid, lift that 200lb barbell even though your only 5 and a half years of age right now, right now!” That is extremely unhealthy.
Start with 5 minutes every other hour and add a minute to each shift until you are working 5 hours. Taking from 9 to 5 or something like that. That will be consistent effort. Do it every day and its 35 hours a week, ya its not 40 but its all solid work, not chatting at the coffee pot.
Next, the goals need to be set in place. Your goals should be aligned with your values, your priorities. Often this is simple, work 8 hours on something you don’t care about and that wont help you in anyway cause sure you’ll still be working but if it’s towards nothing important then it almost negates the value of the hard work itself. Other times it can be more hard to spot, like if you want to learn Chinese don’t spend 8 hours working on rote memorization when you have a feeling soothing else will get your where you want to get faster. If you don’t know of a better way, then 8 hrs of rote, when you’ve cultivated the discipline, will feel great. If you know RTH is better but choose rote anyways, a part of you will be saying, “your wasting your precious time,your wasting your precious time” and that will hurt your enjoyment of work. The work has to be hard and also smart. Chose goals that you are willing to work on long term. Chose them knowing that you will be doing them for a long time, get it into your head that this will be your slowing evolving life of more time committed to these goals. Reflect on the choices, imagine the life you are choosing and try to make sure its one you are willing to live with for long enough to succeed. Goals I think are best are goals where you don’t have an wavering emotion attached to them. Meaning something you don’t see as fun or feel passionately for outside the context of larger achievement. example, If you don’t like math but want to get into something where it is needed, math is a good goal. However if you really like music already but find some days you like it and some you don’t, trying to cultivate discipline there will be tough cause some days will require more discipline than others. It may work out that discipline is still cultivated either way, but if you have many goals it may be best to cultivate discipline for goals were it will always be needed and do the things where it isn’t always needed as a hobby. You may have to sacrifice other things to make space for these goals, things like freedom from structure, you have to give a bit of that up for the routine necessary for cultivating discipline. The discipline to sacrifice things is another thing that may need to be cultivated first. This is a part of being in control of yourself and that is something not to be taken lightly at all. So Choose the right goal, imagine making the change in your life before you even start, get into the idea of your new life, making adjustments in your mind and on the program until it’s something you can live with easily.
Multi-potentiality Vs Specialist
Someone with multi-potentiality will not enjoy doing the same thing for 5 hours a day 7 days a week and nothing else. The specialist might. MP’s know deep down that they get the biggest value out of learning in many different areas so that they can put the different ideas together later. They know that so much time spent in one area means sacrificing all these other areas. In this case it makes sense to pick the most important few things and put time each day into each of those things. Pick the things that seem most interesting, most powerful, and work on those. Leave the things that are “just for fun” and do those “just for fun” whenever you’re not working. Not saying learning can’t be fun, or work can’t be fun, it’s just that there is work and there is leisure. Leisure being activity that you don’t plan on using to produce anything of value for yourself. For a MP I think a lot of work will go into learning. Learning in different areas. Then once the MP reaches a point where they are savvy enough in a few areas, they will find way of bringing together different ideas and innovating and then building something of even more value. Also maybe the MP should sure they reach that savvy point first so that the work of putting the pieces together will be a streamlines workflow. And I’m assuming that savvy point is not only for specialists.
Work life balance
I still think work life balance is important, just that in north America at least, and for young people, there needs to be more work. so far I have only tested and been successful with the model where there is work time and play time in each day. Either in shifts or half day work half day play. This works well I will say. In fact, I feel like I spend my play time more productively when I have less of it. When I have 24 hours of play I get tired of play very fast and start surfing the internet.
Humans need social contact for health. I think both the play and the work in life is enriched by other human beings. We work harder when there are others supporting our efforts and we laugh harder in a theater with others than on our own at home watching the same funny movie. So as well as work and play, I think it is important to incorporate other human beings who have the same mindset into both areas of your life where possible. Where possible meaning if your friend doesn’t want to do the work you want to or loses steam it will have a negative impact on your level of discipline. For this reason it might be better to cultivate the discipline alone and then meet friends who have it and the same goal as you and then work together. It’s a lot like smoking, if you try to quite with someone, if either person starts smoking again the other person loses that support. The discipline needs to be built alone, and then intensified by other hard workers. Or you could always work alone and then have all the fun with others, if that is the only way it will work then so be it. It depends on the goals also, lots of projects and goals are just solo by nature. Novels for instance. Just don’t alienate yourself from others entirely, life has little meaning without others.
Lifestyle of Hard Work
I believe that a huge part of life enrichment is working hard to achieve meaningful goals. I think everyone deserves to experience working hard and winning and achieving. Especially with others. So the thing missing from some peoples work-life balance formula may be the work, and the cultivated discipline to do that work. Also I think the ability to work, and the work itself is a huge part of having abundance just because of how enriching it is and that it is free and that it is the only way to surely create something from nothing. Stone soup takes work.