Expert Author Margaret Cranford
In a world where we crave more leisure time and an easier life, we are in danger of forgetting the benefits of hard work.
The essential point is that you get nothing out of life by being half-hearted and luke-warm about what you are doing. Most people are capable of running a marathon, for example, but will not achieve it until they fully commit to the training required. There are plenty of old sayings that demonstrate that this is well recognized:
"If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well."
The harder you work and the busier you are, the more able you are to make decisions, and the more skillful and efficient you become:
"If you want something done quickly, ask someone who's busy."
So even when a job is less than appealing, something that you wished had not come along, the best thing to do is to get on with it, to get it out of the way, and reap a few benefits along the way. Satisfaction that the job is done, increased knowledge that you are not a shirker, increased reputation as someone who gets a job done.
When a job is done well, when you can look back at your achievements and know that not only have you done the best you could but that you have done better than many others would, you can take a virtuous pride in your achievement. Your confidence and self worth increase, and you increase your ability to take on anything.
Hard work has mental and emotional benefits. Work is a great healer. When you have worries, be they financial or emotional, they can go round and round in your head until you feel quite ill. In fact they can make you ill. Working can give you a break from worry. As you focus on the work at hand, there is no space in your head to wear yourself out with your own worries. You are taking part in a real activity, which puts you in touch with the real world and helps you gain some perspective on your problems. In innumerable situations, when I mentally leave a problem and begin to think of something else, when I allow myself time to "sleep on it" solutions occur to me that I had not seen before. In addition, you are doing something practical to improve your situation - earning money, improving your situation, or helping someone else, making life a little better through your efforts.
Work can lead to physical fitness and health. Even if your work is sedentary, it is impossible to be eating or thinking about food if you are fully engaged in a task, so avoiding junk food and eating between meals is easy. I work from home, but am busy all the time on work that takes my full attention; my part-time work reviewing web pages and customer journeys through websites, my painting, my photography, my writing. I make sure I include physical activities too, pilates, walking, housework to give myself the physical activity I need, and thinking time. I am healthier and fitter as a result.
Much hard work includes real physical effort too. Provided you use good techniques, don't strain yourself by taking on more than you can manage too soon and avoid injury, your strength, stamina, balance, posture and health all improve. Much cheaper than going to the gym! So look on hard physical work as training.
The real issue is your attitude. Of course there are days when you'd rather stay in bed, and of course, not all work is inherently enjoyable. Find the purpose for doing it, work out the best way to tackle it so that you can minimize the downsides and then appreciate it for what it is. It's an opportunity to flex your physical or mental muscles, get a bit fitter, improve your mood and to achieve something worthwhile.