Grinding.

One of the biggest myths of our culture is that nobody loves their work.

It’s not true but a lot of people believe it; in part because so many people hate their jobs. A job, for a lot of people, is nothing more than a means to do an end. And to a certain degree, that’s ok. Sometimes a job is a paycheck and those paychecks serve crucial and often providential purposes. Having money is a good thing. And nobody should be criticized for doing something they don’t like in order to make ends meet. In fact, they should probably be praised.

But not everyone hates the work they do. Certain people refuse to approach work as simply a means to end. Instead, the work is an end in itself because it’s also a passion.

Two nights ago I asked a buddy how his day went. His eyes popped bright. “Great. My day was great,” he said.

My buddy is in the midst of a grueling medical residency and he works ridiculously long hours. So I asked him if something special happened; what made it so great?

“I got to operate all day.”

Think about that. The guy was on his feet doing things that are beyond complicated, while under enormous stress, and he loved every second of it.

Why? Because he’s living his passion. Is it hard? Yes. Frustrating and exhausting? Yes. Is it work? You bet.

And he loves it.

I think we have a duty to find work we love. I truly believe that. Even if we can’t do it full-time, it’s still our responsibility to find some kind of work we enjoy. Because if we don’t — if our joy only comes from non-work activities — we miss out on a really rich piece of life. There are few states of mind so fulfilling as having created something excellent, and reveled in the process.

Why am I talking about this?

Because writing is work, even though it’s a passion.

People ask me a lot about how often I sit down to write.

My answer is always the same: Every day.

There are  geniuses who can sit down on a whim and crank out a masterpiece. I am not one of them. If I write anything of value it’s because I’ve worked really hard. Period. To create the art I love so much I must place myself in front of the keyboard and  grind the words out onto the page.

Hour after hour.

Day after day.

Just like any other job.

Great writing, 99.9 percent of the time, is a product of hard-fought work — not sudden epiphany with a glass of wine in hand. Although, it’s really sweet when that happens.

Einstein put it this way: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

That’s the  question: How long are we willing to sit? How bad do we want to see our vision realized?

I want it bad.

You?

 

 

8 thoughts on “Grinding.

  1. A sobering challenge to all of us, especially us creative types and I couldn’t agree more. Reflecting the Einstein quote you referenced, when John Maxwell was asked how he has written so many books, he said, “It’s not brilliance, it’s consistency.” Now I am off to go sit and do some hard work…maybe even with a glass of wine in hand. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the encouragement to continue working hard. Often, the vision of a completed goal seems like a distant mirage. There are some deep lessons to be learned through perseverance and sweat.

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