Teddy Roosevelt seems to be the most quotable president the US has ever had. And that may hold true for general leadership quotes in all fields. He came into leadership at a pivotal time in American history and set the stage for other leaders to follow, which is why people quote him so often and so fondly. He is simply inspirational.
So can you imagine saying something like the above quote from Teddy, about work no less?
Most people struggle with the idea of work and prize being in the same sentence, other than to say that they are waiting for the prize after the work. It is not a surprise that people would see it this way, given the common sentiments shared about work attitudes. The idea of work being pleasurable or some form of reward sounds crazy to most people in North America. A 9-to-5 system, a boss you don’t like, and a weekend to work towards, are unfortunate realities we have created and held on to.
Work was never intended to be worthless.
One of the misunderstood passages of the Bible are the words given to Adam in Genesis, right after he and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Somehow the fact that God tells Adam that work would be hard in order to produce food from the earth turned into people not being required to work. The problem is that God was working by creating, and gave Adam work to do after his day of rest. Adam was doing something, he just did not realize it was work as we view it today.
Do you serve or worship?
One of the beautiful pictures we get from the Bible is how the word ‘worship’ is equated with the word ‘serve’ in many places. The idea of worship is ingrained in the ideal of serving and giving purposeful time in honour of something or someone. The 2 marry well and paint an important picture for how we view our use of time and the importance we pay to what we deem worthy. Our work is worship.
So what is Teddy Roosevelt talking about?
Work with purpose. It is just that simple. Too many of us work and hope that what we do will give us purpose or payment. What about being purposeful in the work you have at hand? Does it change the way you approach the day? The week? Your overall outlook on life? It should. When we bring purpose to our work, in some cases, seek out the resounding reason for why we get to take part in accomplishing it, we reverse the outcome before it even begins.
How can you change your outlook to view work as the prize?