Aristotle taught his students about the cross of life—gaining a balance in life by equalizing energy toward the following four areas: love, work, worship, and play. Aristotle said that at the center of this cross of life was what all human beings are seeking: happiness.
I am not sure that anyone ever reaches a perfect balance of these four areas, but working toward that balance throughout a lifetime can add to your health and well-being. If you ever feel out of sorts, incomplete, or dysfunctional, one of more of these areas may be lacking. Attention to filling voids in those identified areas may lead you to a place of calm, peace, and wellness.
People have told me throughout my lifetime that I work way too hard, put in too many hours, and push myself too radically. They tell me I don’t play enough. Well, who knows? But what I do know is that I love my work. So, while work is demanding, travel is not easy, and yes, my hours and days are long, I love my work and the people with whom I work—so my work is somewhat like play. I can honestly say that I love my work so much that it is playful to me. (If you’ve ever been in one of my lectures or seminars—you know what I am talking about!) I feel a definite sense of “being on purpose” and making a difference in people’s lives. While I don’t worship my work, I do feel like my work is part of my reason for being on this earth and for fulfilling God’s mission for me during my time here.
Yes, I get out of balance. Yes, there are times I push way too hard—past exhaustion. But, rest works wonders and no matter how tired I may get, I do not lose sight of the cross of life and the worthwhile effort to balance the four energies.
I am so grateful that I love my work and the people with whom I work. I wouldn’t spend one day doing something I did not want to do, nor would I work with people I do not care for and appreciate. Life is way too short.
If you are not happy doing what you do or if you are not happy working with the people in your workplace, change things. Don’t feel that you have no choice and that you are stuck. You aren’t. There is work out there for anyone who is willing to do all that is expected of them—and more—every day. There is work for people who always want to perform above average. There will always be work for people who are willing to go the extra mile—and who do so with enthusiasm. Be extraordinary and extraordinary rewards – including the elusive goal called “happiness” – will be yours.
Love your work. Work with such enthusiasm and joy that your work becomes as enjoyable as play. Be “on purpose.” Make a difference. One of the greatest aspects of human wellness is just that—being on purpose and making a difference in the lives of the people with whom you interact.