When I suggested I write a blog about this topic, I thought it would be relatively easy to outline some thoughts on this, however, I appear to have been mistaken! What I have achieved on my 3rd/4th attempt at writing this is an awful lot of time being invested into considering if I will offend people.
Why, might you ask?
Well, in 2023, we find ourselves operating with our first generation of those who have been completely immersed in a world of internet since birth, and in turn, a wider (and more general) society largely focussed on convenience and all things ‘social’.
It would be fair to say that as a result of this I feel that the term ‘hard work’ (for some), has been amplified to something it isn’t, and that the obsessive alignment to all things ‘social’ dilutes the realities of life and its opportunities for authentic fulfilment. Thus meaning, we have quite a potent cocktail for enabling untenable and unrealistic expectations of the interpretation of ‘hard work’.
Don’t get me wrong; fulfilment is open to interpretation (and is personal to us all). Still, I am quite confident that ‘hard work’ has been misinterpreted along the way and is now often associated with terms like burnout, exhaustion, and pressure. The facts are that the two are different, and I am most certainly not advocating the latter.
I am, however, highlighting that ‘hard work’ is a perfectly acceptable ask (within any working environment). When correctly understood, it simply means working in a deliberate manner by doing the best you can, to accomplish the most you can.
It is my opinion that working hard is simply the use of your physical, emotional, and mental ability to be purposeful in your role. Now, I fully understand that working hard is not always enjoyable, but sometimes life requires us to do ‘stuff’ that we do not enjoy, which is perfectly normal. What is not normal, is the portrayal of perfection in every aspect (of every area) of your life and work. The lack of enjoyment in something does not dilute its value, nor the learnings and lessons associated with it; it is just normal life.
In stark contrast to this, our obsession with all things ‘social’, can be (note the word can) a distraction that drives a distorted sense of reality and enables inaccurate viewpoints on life and its requirements, ultimately looping back to unreasonable expectations of ‘real life’ such as having to work hard.
With social media playing such a big part in all our lives (both personally and professionally), I feel we have a responsibility to honestly outline realities through the power of alternative and more traditional communication channels, such as face-to-face interactions. It is clear to me that we all have a responsibility to ‘keep things real’ and that normalising hard work is critical to avoid a shift towards unoccupied lives and unfulfilled minds, tortured by embellished and fabricated lives and environments that simply do not exist.
The reality of what hard work is, is acceptable. The social manifestation of what hard work is, is inaccurate.