Work For The Sake Of The Work

In my business career as well as with with my clients and students, I have developed a firm belief that our business success is 10% skill and 90% who we are, the quality of our character.

This is exemplified by Richard Branson, a man with little education but now a billionaire with over 200 companies. Clearly he is not a technical master of 200 industries. On the other end of the scale, you may have heard the saying that 10% of the salespeople make 90% of the money. Success is not entirely based on your technical knowledge as much as the clients pleasure of working with someone they know will follow through and care.

Many books have been written about making money, my favorite is ‘Think and Grow Rich.’ I read that when I was 12 and went from literally nothing to millionaire at 25 because of one main reason. I understood that success had very little to do with specialized knowledge and everything to do with the quality of my mind and character. Thinking is the key to growing rich.

However, that has also been distorted by people saying all you have to do is think and you will succeed, but as the masses have found out, that does not work. The answer to success is not thinking alone, but the apparatus which does the thinking, your ego personality.

This is the key to success. Who you are and how you react to situations is Karma, the principle of cause and effect. I believe in working on the root cause of the events in our life, our mind and personality, so that we react in the most appropriate way and thus get the best results, constantly.

1 Our actions cause the next reaction; anger breeds anger, calmness solves problems and moves forward. This is principle of Karma.
2 We react based on the quality of our mind and personality, that is where our thoughts are born and live.
3 What is born is the product of its parents. Our thoughts will reflect the quality of our ego/personality.
4 Refining who you are will automatically change how you think, react, and succeed or fail. If you do not work on the mind that is thinking, then thinking all you want will not give you good results.
5 We must learn how to think correctly because that is not taught in school.

This article is about one of the old sayings that I live by, but have found many people, my students and clients included, do not fully grasp, especially when they think they do. I would like to now use this one saying to express the method in which you can gain far more value out of the already large amount of information and good thoughts accumulated in your mind. Here is the first key in refining the apparatus that does the thinking so it learns how to see beyond the surface.

As with many ‘wise’ sayings, we often miss the hidden value and most important fact when we think we understand the words of wisdom; ‘Work for the sake of the work, do the best you can for the sake of doing the best you can.’

We are not perfect. Doing the best you can does not imply that what you do should be perfect, unless you are perfect yourself. Emphasis is on ‘you can’ and not ‘the best’.

Self-development practices are rarely done for the obvious or literal reasons alone. This means that the greater value in; ‘do the best you can for the sake of doing the best you can’, is not just about doing the best job you can.

Where it does have great value is in bringing out your ego for you to see and master. Your devotion, sincerity, laziness just to name a few qualities, will clearly be shown in every task or act.

When you learn to see the hidden meaning in all things rather than the obvious surface meaning, you will learn to see objective reality in all situations. The problem is how to see what is hidden when it is something that you could not possibly know? And, once achieving this ability, how do you know if what you think is the hidden meaning in the obvious is the correct and true thing to find? Or, if there is more that you have still missed?

This is why the principle of work for the sake of the work is about mastering your ego. It is the ego that interprets what you see and encounter. Is that person really insulting you or are they enduring some severe suffering in their life and just lashing out at anyone. You can easily imagine how your reactions would change based on knowing the truth and thus avoid a nasty argument.

When you do something, or are in a position to give something but you get to choose what you give, your ego will show up with all the reasons and justifications to give less, work less, quit early or before it is really complete, or, do a half-ass job. The master craftsman can be compared to an excessive compulsive. Both work very hard and long but the difference is that one works for the sake of the best quality of work and the other works just to keep busy or for the ego sake of being seen to be hard working.

The ego personality, which is the controlling aspect of our intellect, is the barrier that separates our consciousness from hearing our intuition and higher wisdom. This ego is the ‘House Builder’ that Buddha referred to when he became enlightened and said; ‘Oh house builder, I have seen you and you shall never build a house for me again.’

This was his statement to say that he has seen his ego and how it fills our mind with thoughts, desires and fears etc, which keep us ignorant of the ultimate truth and reality of what we are, thus separating us from enlightenment.

Work for the sake of doing the best job you can…and for the sake of seeing your lower ego with all its selfish flaws which are preventing you from achieving the success you desire or simply having a better life and becoming a better person which will lead you to greater success both at work and in your relationships.

Apply this principle to any wise saying and you will be well on the road to gaining much more out of life than you previously imagined possible.

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One Response to Work For The Sake Of The Work

  1. Andy January 18, 2011 at 12:27 am #

    There are so many layers of learning in this article – and much more too, I’m sure, than I have seen or understood. When you think you know, you cease to grow.

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