A man is worked on by what he works on.”
– Frederick Douglass
What we choose to work on, will transform us, just as much as we try to mould it. Simple work can make people peaceful, and stressful jobs can make people frustrated and angry.
You can almost predict a man’s temperament from learning only his occupation, and that is because our work begins to shape us in ways that we may not even be aware of. Small interactions add up and quickly the methodologies from our work, creep slowly into our lifestyles, and alter our personality.
We spend more time at our jobs, than we do on our own, or with our families. Only sleeping comes close to matching the number hours we put into our work, and so it’s inevitable that as one of the biggest chunks of our time, it makes a big impact on our attitude and outlook towards life.
So pick wisely, smart men beware of problems that do not have or need a solution, or if it is not worthy of their time or energy. Such enterprises can quickly lead frustration and self-doubt into the mind and it can become quite a challenge to evict them later.
Finding your skill can be an immense challenge. In most cases, it takes our whole lives to discover this. But It takes even more experience to realise that a lot of work is better left undone. Especially if it’s taking you in the wrong direction.
Working smart means making sure you are spending your time on jobs that are effective and that actually need to be done. Not ones that represent busywork, or are being performed only out of habit, without questioning their relevance in the present moment, or their contribution to your cause.
As we grow older and get wiser, we can seek our true purpose and graduate from just doing the tasks right to doing the right tasks.
I found this quote by Frederick Douglass, and lots of other great gems in a great list of ‘PRODUCTIVITY ADVICE I LEARNED FROM PEOPLE SMARTER THAN ME‘ published by Ryan Holiday, the bestselling author of one of my recent favourite books, The Obstacle Is The Way.