Give Me The Fish (GMTF): Without purpose, Hard work is nothing but hard work. Don’t brag or be proud of the hours you spent. It’s not the act of hard work in itself that is admirable, it’s what you are working to achieve. Hard work only means something when it’s directed at what you believe in.
“Are you the chicken or the pig?”
I hate this question.
I still remember this being screamed at me as footlockers got thrown down the middle of the barracks. All because somebody had the audacity not to lock it prior to the Sergeant Instructors (Drill Sergeants for Officers) storming through.
The only correct answer to this outer-worldly question is, “I’m a pig”. Not that any of us knew this at the time, but eventually it was broken down for us to understand.
The idea behind it is a chicken is only involved in the food-making process. It sits down, lays an egg and carries on with the rest of the day, while it’s unborn child gets fed to the masses.
Meanwhile, the pig is committed. It’s going to give its life, blood, and soul to feed those around it.
So, are you going to be involved in the Marine Corps or are you going to be committed to the Marine Corps? That is what they are asking.
I can get behind the final sentiment. But, what I hate about this question, is that it’s exposing this societal truth in this little ironic joke, except the real joke is on those telling it.
Without Purpose The Joke Is On You
What is this ironic joke, you might ask? It’s the same joke that most people have played on themselves as they wake up in the morning and head to work.
It’s the joke that, in both of these situations, you are just like a farm animal, or in the terms of the joke, you are one.
In both cases, you are put in your little pen, told to follow the rules, and if you are committed enough, you will make your way to success, but it will burn you up in the process. All for achieving someone else’s goals.
This doesn’t apply to all of us. But, if you’re one of those people that gives your entire life to a job you hate, just to make money for things you don’t need, and feel trapped in this Groundhogs Day routine, then this my friend, applies to you.
Your Viewing It All Backwards
Sure, we go into a job, seeing it for what it is, a business transaction, a way to get that next iPhone or pay the bills.
A straightforward deal.
I give you my time, and you give me pay. An even trade. But, what happens is we get stuck in this hamster wheel. Where we feel the need to keep up with this wheel that we are spinning. As we see that next rung, we climb faster and faster, only to see not only another rung appear, but we forget about anything outside of the wheel.
My family? Nah, they can wait my boss needs this report. Hitting the gym? No time, I have to prove to my boss that I’m not lazy.
The list goes on and on and that wheel just spins faster and faster as the work piles on and our paycheck stays stagnant.
In the end, you fall off the wheel exhausted with life with no passion to do anything but chill at home watch tv, and if you are extra motivated, go and plant your garden.
So, what do you have to show for your hard work? For giving your life away for a business transaction that is more like a Ponzi scheme? Not much and without pupose.
Work Is Not The Enemy, The Culture of Working Without Purpose Is
Despite all of this, work is not the enemy and neither are organizations or systems.
Organizations are important, they make us accomplish far more together than we ever could apart. They form and build not only amazing products that we use today, but create country’s and nations that not only protect us but can do a lot of good in the world. But the key is, all of these things were created with a purpose in mind.
The enemy is the culture we have slipped into. A culture that understands less about purpose and more about putting your head down and getting to work.
A place where we brag about how long we have worked and how many hours we spent rather then what we achived or accomplished.
A culture that has formed due to the misconstruing of the life advice that society has been drilling into us. All of which are the equivalent of old housewife tales.
“Grit Your Teeth, Put Your Head Down, And Get To Work”
Working hard for the sake of working hard is just as bad as going through the motions to make a paycheck. Both are just as stupid. And both are without purpose.
As a living, breathing human being, you can pick exactly how you want to live your life. There should never be a moment where you just “put your head down and work”. You have the ability to pick your head up and see where you want to go. You can pick your purpose for being on this earth. Because without purpose what’s the point.
Your hard work should be aimed at what you want to accomplish in your life. Not for accomplishing somebody else’s dreams.
Find out where you want to be in 5,10,15 years. And put your work in towards that. Give it everything you have and accomplish that goal. And when you reach it, celebrate. And make it a day to remember, because you have not only accomplished what you set out to do but have managed to save your precious life for yourself in the process.
Sacrificing your blood sweat and tears is an honorable thing, but if you are going to give that gift to someone or to something, it better be damn well worth it. Because, you are giving away the only valuable thing you have, time on this earth.
At the end of the day, it’s okay to be committed, but I for one will not be a pig. I would rather be a Beta Fish. Totally committed, but bound not by someone else, but by my own will to succeed.
Be a Beta, win or die trying. Just make sure it’s not without purpose.