The Importance of Making Sense of Our Work

We, as humans, are different from animals. How?

  1. We seek meaning from our lives.

Compare this with an animal that merely eats, reproduces and dies.

  1. We are born to “do”, not just born to be

We need to be constantly doing something because our lives demand it.

  1. We are always in search of better prospects

We contemplate the future. It is important for us to have the feeling that we have a brighter tomorrow waiting for us. This is scientifically proven that our ability to think of the future differentiates humans from other animals.

  1. We always seek to go higher

We try to be better at what we do, we try to be richer, more famous, while some of us try to be more in control of our health or be more spiritual, but the path we see is upwards.

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Meet Chum: he works endlessly on reports and presentations and documents, and he does not know why he is working. He is not able to make sense of his work.

Our work must give our lives some meaning

Seeing and knowing that we are different from other animals, it is only natural to expect that the work we do every single day of our lives, gives us meaning and satisfaction. If you are working 8-10 hours a day (or maybe even more) on a mission that you have no faith in, on a project which makes you unhappy, on something which gives you no learning or satisfaction, chances are high that you start to feel like an animal, a being without purpose. The day will not be far when you start feeling that your body is not helping you and is becoming a house of diseases born out of stress.

Working on a cause that you don’t understand makes your body ill

Stress doesn’t only come from working long hours, but also from working on a cause that gives you no happiness of any sort. Soon, a doctor may be prescribing you medication for hypertension, anxiety, insomnia, or any of the several types of hormonal disorders or mental illnesses. Think of it, the human body is a complex organic machine and it knows by itself when it is unhappy and being made to do tasks it is not designed for, or is not comfortable doing, and just like any other machine, it begins to malfunction when it works in the same disorderly state for long. By continuing to work in the same fashion, the body is reducing its own life expectancy.

If you work for a long time in a career or a company that doesn’t give you a sense of achieving something significant, or a feeling that you are contributing to a bigger cause, or making a dent in the world with your efforts, your mind begins to get boggled in ways you don’t understand. Some of the ways this can manifest is:

  • Simple tasks take longer to accomplish, while harder tasks make you feel incompetent
  • You feel lethargic and push tasks, trying to avoid them altogether
  • You feel a constant nagging feeling within, but you can’t really place what is bothering you
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Chum feels tired, lost, unmotivated and always remains stressed. It shows on his face, his body language, and off late, in his work, which he cannot relate to.

This negatively affects your inner energy and hence, your productivity

If you aren’t able to understand why you are filling excel sheets and making dead powerpoint presentations day after day, you will start being careless, or scared of this work. If you can’t really determine why you meet so many clients every day, or what’s the purpose of making those reports, you may end up feeling completely lost and purposeless.

Now, do you realize the importance of working towards something your soul believes in? Working on something that your inner being feels happy doing? Putting your energy into something that is in harmony with your own internal energy?

Once you are making sense of your work, only then, you, a human, can feel realized.


Nobody will tell you what makes YOU happy

That’s the truth. Nobody else will tell you what will make YOU happy. Not your friends, not your parents, not your boss, neither your teachers, nor your significant other. It is a long journey towards self discovery as to what work gives YOU immense happiness. Some of us know it from the very beginning, when they see their parents happy as teachers or doctors or scientists and they know their own happiness lies there too. For others, the path is very complicated and distorted, often pebbled with failed stints at a career, a sudden illness caused by tirelessly working in a wrong profession, or career progressions much slower than our capabilities. It is then that this group of people realizes that they need a shift in their life strategy, and need new work in order to be able to fulfil their lives.

Our work takes up the biggest chunk of time of our lives and for each of us, it needs to be meaningful so that when you look back on your life, you feel that you accomplished something, or helped in something, or contributed towards something in your life. And this is one of the most important motives of human life.

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Chum reflected on his life. He realized that he needed to make a change. He could not find meaning in his work earlier. Now he is a teacher. He is finally happy. He finds his work meaningful.

So start finding meaning in your work if you already don’t. If you can’t find your work giving enough meaning or substance to your personality, it is never too late to start all over again.

The soul is here to “do” and the body is your instrument to do it. Ask your soul what it wants to do and put your body to it.

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