Working hard … but towards what?

Most of us would say we have a strong work ethic and strong work ethic is something we admire in others. However, from my observations, talking to others and looking through various posts online I can’t help but notice how everyone feels overworked.

On the other, I recently read an article outlining the most common regrets people have on their death bed. As it turns out, one of the top ones is “I wish I didn’t work so hard.”

So these two data points made me wonder: how do I know that my current work ethic is not putting me on a highway to a huge end of life disappointment?

I can’t put myself in other people’s shoes, but my guess is that if I had regrets about working too hard at the end of my life, it wouldn’t be so much about working too hard itself but working too hard on the wrong thing.

The best analogy I can come up with comes from a yin yoga instruction I just heard earlier this morning: get in a pose deep enough to feel discomfort, but not so much that you feel pain.

Discomfort is a growth enabler. Just like a work out for our muscles, it’s what we need to get stronger. Doesn’t mean you’ll be jumping up and down on the way the gym every time, but you will always be glad you did it afterward.

Pain is not gain in my book. Instead, it’s a sign we are handing over our free choice to external forces. And so pain will do its best to spark a course change before we get injured. Wounded, because we kept pushing ourselves in a direction where we were not designed to go.

So is what you doing causing discomfort or pain?

Posted in Blog.


  1. Thanks for another insightful post! Yep, I agree with you- pain doesn’t equal gain. For many years, however, I was living believing that it was true. I believed that I wasn’t working hard enough or efficient enough if I didn’t feel some kind of pain, either physical or emotional or both. Through mindful education and practising mindfulness and meditation, I discovered that there’s no need for pain. Discomfort- totally different kettle of fish indeed! Somebody said that our lives begin outside our comfort zones and I agree. Learning and growth require some discomfort. I love the analogy of your yoga instructor!
    At the moment I’m living in some discomfort- there have been so many changes in my life in recent weeks, so comfort is nowhere to be seen. And… I kind of love it! It scares me sometimes, but it’s a ‘good fear’, as I call it; it’s the kind that excites me at the same time. I believe I’m on a massive learning curve!

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