How you define “Work” may define how you “Live”

In a recent blog titled I don’t work, author Jon Acuff admitted that he really doesn’t work, based on the following quote from author James M. Barrie: “Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.”  And Jon Acuff only does that which he would rather be doing.

Many comments followed this post stating the importance of work, and that work was intended as a good thing (God having created man and woman to work in and care for his creation, Genesis 2:15).  So how could Jon Acuff, or anyone else for that matter, say it’s not really work when there is nothing else you would rather do?

It is really a matter of definition – and how you define “work” impacts how you live your life.

Have you ever attempted to answer the question, “what is work?”  Consider the following advice from Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek:

“If you can’t define it or act upon it, forget it.”

Specifically, Ferris suggests asking two questions when considering stress-inducing questions like this:

  1. Have I decided on a single meaning for each term in this question?
  2. Can an answer to this question be acted upon to improve things?

In our case, can you decide on a single meaning for the term, “Work”?  If you can define what work is for you ( and I’m fairly certain all of us can), then is there action you can take to improve your work, or improve what work means to you (I believe the answer should be yes to this question, the problem lies in our willingness to take the necessary action)?

Let’s return to the Jon Acuff post mentioned earlier.  It appears that Acuff started out with one definition of work that, when examined under the second question above, could be acted upon to improve things, in his case by redefining “work” based on the Barrie quote, and in light of what gives him fulfillment and life.

In other words, Jon Acuff doesn’t have a job, nor does he have a career, but he has found his vocation, or purpose in life, and while it requires effort, it rarely feels like work.  And that makes life worth living to the full.

How do you define work?  Is there any action you can take to improve things?


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