Work used to stress me out. I couldn’t sleep, as my mind would run wild with potential disaster and lengthy to-do lists. “There’s so much to do. I’ll never get this done,” I’d exclaim over and over inside my gorilla brain.
That has changed over the years, and now I am very chill about work. In fact, this makes it hard for some to work with me, as I don’t seem frenzied or even look excited. I don’t respond to frantic emails.
People often view this as a lack of enthusiasm. Isn’t work supposed to stress you out!?
I adopted a mantra, which gave me inner peace. “The work is never done.”
Yes, there’s a lot of work to do, and I’ll work hard at it.
But finishing work today doesn’t mean there’s no work tomorrow.
Why stress about tomorrow’s work? It’ll be there when I wake up.
(Or, as Dale Carnegie said in his amazing work How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (Amzn), “Your inbox will always be full.”)
Choose a trade or profession where the work builds on the other work.
Sales, medicine, law, engineering, craftsmanship, and trades like plumbing and electricity allow for continued growth in knowledge and skills. What you learn today builds on your mistakes and successes of yesterday, and what you learn tomorrow will build on today’s victories and defeats.
Entrepreneurship is a cliched term, and I hate it and avoid using it. But building a business gives you skills that transfer into other businesses. A launch is a launch is a launch. I could do for a law firm, dental office, personal trainer, real estate agent, or anyone who has an online presence what I’ve done for Danger & Play.
The best lawyers are in their 40s and 50s and you can still be a great lawyer into your 70s. Lawyering is called the practice of law because you have to practice a lot to get really good at it.
The worst profession or job is one you can master quickly. Fast food workers top off at low wages as it doesn’t take long to master the work.
When your job or profession is stressful or frustrating, rejoice. You are learning skills few others have, as most people quit at the first sign of hardship.
If you aren’t stretching yourself, often to the point of being pissed off, then you are going to lose your job as you’re doing something that is too easy.
Avoid overwork, and you won’t know what overwork is until you’ve done it.
I would study in law school until I had headaches. When I’d sleep my dreams felt like a pinball game going on in my head. Maybe it was neurological growth occurring, but there were deep changes occurring in my brain.
I felt those changes and they hurt.
I abused my body, got a bunch of injuries, and felt like shit for a few months. I lost a lot of muscle. Now I’ve gained the muscle back and feel good, but am too fat.
(If you’re going to get fat, do it in style.)
Your health and fitness is part of the work.
Fat loss is part of the work. No big deal. Cut the k/cals, up the cardio, and go to bed hungry. There’s no magic to fat loss.
Muscle gain is part of the work. A muscular body lives longer, is healthier, and recovers from injury and illness faster. Gaining muscle will always be work, and as you age, maintaining muscle will take as much work as gaining it did. Embrace the work.
Your diet is work. Yes you have to be an adult, eat your vegetables (or juice them), and not eat ice cream every night. (That’s as much for me as you. Odds are my diet over the past few months has been far worse than any of yours!)
Treat your social and family life as the work, because it is.
Your family is part of the work, and the work is never done.
Other people have their own unique needs and interests, and making relationships with friends and family work requires you to get out of your own head.
You must understand and meet the wants and needs of other people.
A good family is the best investment you can make in yourself. Many people neglect their families for professional work, which leaves them feeling empty and regretful inside.
Go play with your kids. The work will be there when you get back to it.
Your play is part of the work.
I don’t travel often, but when I do, I treat it as part of the work.
(Jump in to your work.)
Even if you’re not rich yet, you can have a lot of fun when you treat your play as part of the work.
Even when I had no money, I treated my play as work. I hit a heavy bag in my garage as some poor kid in Illinois. Jump ropes are free. Hit the park to do some sprints at the track or run up stairs as your local high school.
When you get a little spare change, go treat your travel as part of the work.
In the past 12 months I’ve explored the Mediterranean sea, had home cooked meals deep in the Italian countryside, jumped off cliffs in Croatia with a D&P reader and new friend, watched an Above and Beyond concern on pure MDMA with a close friend, trekked through jungle to explore caves, and now smoke cigars in Saigon with another great friend.
I keep my Instagram less as a way to status signal and more as a way to keep track.
I work so much it’s hard to remember how much work I’ve put in.
The best way to get the work done is to start working.
The biggest reason no one gets work done is because they don’t get started on the work.
“I want to be a writer.” How many words have you written today? I’ll write between 3,000 and 5,000.
“I want to get a better body.” Did you go to the gym today? Forget about the perfect program or best set-rep scheme. Did you show up and move your body for a few minutes?
“I want to date beautiful women.” What did you do the last time a woman stopped you in your tracks?
“I want to make more money.” Did you turn on the television when you got home from work, or did you focus on some income-producing activity?
“I want my children to love me.” Did you put your phone down and give them your undivided attention today?
“I’m afraid to start because I’m afraid to fail.”
Of course you will fail.
That’s part of the work, and the work is never done.
Today’s efforts will look like crap compared to tomorrow’s efforts, which means tomorrow you will be better than you were today.
The work is never done, and that gives me so much inner peace.
I don’t sit around feeling self-loathing or that I’m not doing enough, because of course there’s work to do.
It’s time to get back to work.
(Rome, as they say, wasn’t built in a day.)