Why do you work so hard? Sweat so hard? Stress so much?
Why do you do it?
Expanding all that magnificent effort, so you can gather a few bills in one place, and watch them grow?
But it’s not really about the money, you say. You work hard to provide the necessities of life, and to do otherwise, would be utter foolishness.
You need all that money, to fulfill all your many physiological needs.
To quench your thirst and soothe your hunger. To keep your head out of the cold, and away from the rain, sleet, and snow.
These are basic needs.
Needs of safety. Needs of belonging. Needs of a self-esteem. Needs of becoming self-actualized.
And it’s a hierarchy, don’t you know. You cannot really get to the next level without having mastered the previous one. You can’t be fully human, unless you work hard, and sweat hard, and stress, oh so much.
Those are signs of progress. Wounds of respect.
And so, you give your life for a what. You fight and cheat for a what. You stay up late at night worrying about the what.
Motivated by it. Obsessed by it. Controlled by it. Overwhelmed by it.
But shouldn’t you think about the who?
Who, not what.
Shouldn’t you work hard, so you have the time and means to spend it with the people you love? But if the work you do, drives you crazy, makes you wake up before them, and return home after them, don’t you think it’s about time to ask why you do that work in the first place?
Don’t lie. Don’t say you’re sacrificing yourself for them. You’re not a soldier. You’re not a revolutionary. You bang keystrokes all day. You move paper from a to b. You pick through, looking for the best donut, before another, useless, and too all-consuming staff meeting.
Your children want their mother and father. They do, but they squawk like a hungry baby bird in a nest calling for supper, and demand all sorts of things. Things, if you work so hard to get, they will soon forget.
You wife and husband too. They want you. Not what you provide but who you are.
Your parents and grandparents, also want your company.
They want your time. They want to share their life with you, and in turn have an opportunity to bask in the life you’ve created.
It’s not the what that you should focus on.
It’s the who.
Who matters in your life? Who is in your corner? Who deserves your time? The best part of the day? Your most rested self? Your best self? Your unconditional self?
In the Kite Runner, Amir asks Hassan, if he would do something for him. Hassan answered, “for you, a thousand times over”.
For you, a thousand times over.
Life demands that we work hard. It is our calling. Our responsibility. Our destiny.
But life doesn’t tell us why.
So, what will it be?
When you go to battle today, will you do it for a what or a who?