Roxanne, you don’t have to take your suffering to market tonight.
“No one’s going to pay you to sit around and drink beer all day.”
In hindsight, I think my high-school maths teacher was trying to be motivational. He was trying to get me to get off my arse and do some work.
(He had Buckley’s.)
And as far as motivation goes, we know now that fear based motivation doesn’t get you very far. That’s why there’s no motivational posters with messages of dread and doom. No sweeping mountain vistas with “Pull ya finger out or you’ll end up eating cat food.”
(But I’ve made one for you if you want to print it out and give it a go. Let me know how works out for you.)
So, “No one’s going to pay you to sit around and drink beer all day,” was his way of schooling me on the harsh realities of life. But behind that statement is a view of the world that is unfortunately very common – it’s the way most of us define work.
Work (n.) – the stuff that no one would do unless they were being paid for it.
This is the way we’ve been taught to think about work. By it’s nature it’s unpleasant. And that’s the work contract. I’ll endure several hours of unpleasantness, and in return, you give me some money.
How many people are actually doing things that they enjoy – things they would still get up and do tomorrow if they won the lotto and didn’t need the money?
For sure, they exist, but I reckon they’d be pretty rare. 1% of the working population, absolute tops.
Even if you say you like your job, do you really like it? Would you still do it tomorrow if you didn’t need to? Or have you just become acclimatised to the unpleasantness, seduced by the little perks, and sold on the idea that everyone needs to work at something.
No one’s going to pay you to sit around and drink beer all day.
But this is all a question of mindset.
If deep in your subconscious somewhere you’ve bought into the idea that work needs to be a pain in the arse – that money only comes when someone with more money than you is buying the right to give you a pain in the arse – then you’re probably going to struggle to break into the rare air of true financial freedom.
If you’ve built an identity and an understanding of the world around the idea that money is won through unpleasantness, then that pattern is going to be hard to break. You’re only going to be open to financial opportunities that ask you to make this trade-off, or they’ll be the only opportunities the universe will send your way.
You’ll be tied to the hamster-wheel.
But we can choose a different definition of work.
Because there’s nothing that says that work has to be unpleasant.
I have another definition:
Work (n.) – the value I provide for the value I receive.
There’s no place for suffering here. And what it says is that, rather than looking for ways to exchange suffering for cash, we should look for places where we can offer value to the world.
This opens the game right up. Last time I looked, the world wasn’t short on things that needed doing.
(I can think of a couple of hundred thousand things just around my house.)
There are any number of ways that you can offer value to the world. And it’s much more empowering to think of yourself as a value provider rather than a merchant of sorrow.
Take my work for example. Sure, you could look at it and say I take my suffering to the market. I put in the hard yards when required, and in return for my sweat and tears, I get the profits of the deals I create.
But that’s not the story I’m telling. In my mind, I help the owners of property get a good deal on their assets, and I create opportunities for people to get into the properties they want to get into.
I provide a valuable service. In return for the value I provide, I receive value from the world (most commonly as money.)
It may just be a shift in perspective, but it’s a powerful one. First of all, suffering is not a necessary component of the equation. I’m much more likely to enjoy my work if I don’t expect I’ll have to suffer at some point.
Secondly, suffering is fixed, but value is not. There is only so much suffering I am capable of enduring. There is only so much sorrow I can take to market.
However, a concept of value is unlimited. I could strap on my sequin undies and go and save the world from some evil mastermind. That’s an almost infinite amount of value I’ve just provided the world right there.
Your capacity to offer value to the world is unlimited. (There’s a motivational poster for you.)
And if the value you offer the world is unlimited, then so is the value the world has to offer you. You are now much more open to flows of wealth and abundance.
So it’s good to get your mindset around “work” straight.
And wherever possible, we should move from limited to unlimited mindsets. It’s just good psychic hygiene.
So try this at your next BBQ. Rather than ask people what they do for a living, ask them what value they offer the world. You might be surprised at the difference.
Does your definition of work revolve around suffering? How do you get around it?
What value do you provide to the world?
Are you getting this?