Tag Archives: work

The 2016 Open

The 2016 Open is over thank goodness.  It has been a while since I finished an Open and felt good about it.  Just finishing is a victory.  The ability to see things through to the end is a noble quality.  I always feel guilty about things I’ve left unfinished: books, movies, meals, workouts, etc.  There is some benefit to finishing a task no matter the outcome.  To some extent it is about keeping your word.  It is also about creating a habit of finishing what you start and learning to overcome the obstacles that stand in your way.

Feeling good about my performance is another matter altogether.  I wouldn’t say I performed great. I don’t feel particularly fit.  However, being in the top 10% of 45 year-olds seems objectively good.  Also this was a year I could do everything.  That is a check in the “win” column.

Additionally, I actually enjoyed the Open this year.  My enjoyment is partly based on my own performance.  I think people enjoy things when they feel good about how they perform and hate on things that they do poorly at.  I know in the past when I felt bad about how I did, I would get down on the Open.  I saw this in school as well.  If I asked someone how a class or a teacher was, the person’s answer was almost always based on their grade.

Creating a better relationship with how we judge our performances is important. Some people use a lot of negative reinforcement to get themselves to improve. For example, constantly telling themselves that they suck and they have to try harder.  With that mindset it is easy to get discouraged if things don’t go your way and it is also unlikely that you will ever be satisfied even if you achieve your goals.  However, if you view your efforts as the best you can do and also look at where they can be improved without the negative self-talk, you can still achieve your goals and be grateful when you do.

I remind myself to focus on the process.  I tell myself that I have what it takes but I need to work fucking harder to achieve my goals.  I remind myself that achieving my goals won’t bring me happiness, it’s doing the work to get there that will bring me satisfaction.  Do the work. Enjoy the work.

Do The Work

“You are entitled only to your labor, not the fruits of your labor” is what Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita.  Think about this.  Think about how things would change if you lived as if this were true.  I know I feel a strong sense of entitlement and I often say, “I deserve that or I earned that” when I don’t get what I want and am upset.  If I stop to think about the teachings of the Gita, I would realize that my entitlement is misplaced and ultimately the true source of my grief.

Many bad feelings stem from the belief that you are owed something that you are not receiving.  If we abandoned that belief and chose to believe that we are only entitled to our actions and our efforts and gave up expectations for more, we could come to a place of peace.  I am entitled to do my work, the better I do it, the better I feel.  If I am rewarded in some way, it is a gift and I have great gratitude and thanks for that gift but am not attached to it.  If I am not rewarded externally, I am not upset because my self satisfaction comes from doing my job well and not from the reward.

Our society is predicated on rewards and most people have come to use them as motivation.  That is a double-edged sword because it can cause people to do great things and achieve great results but often leads to bad feelings when they receive the reward and it doesn’t bring them the happiness they thought it would or when they put forth a great effort and do not get the reward and feel bitter and upset that all the work was a waste.  How tragic in both instances.

Do the work.  Enjoy the work.  Take pride in the work.  When the work is its own reward you will do better work and find greater joy and peace of mind.  When the work is always a means to an end, you will never find peace.