The continuation of part two, today’s question: What is worthwhile?
After wondering what our purpose is, the next logical step is to wonder what is worth investing our lives, time, and money, in. World cultures each have different and yet strikingly similar answers. Wealth, power, and pleasure are common to nearly all, if not all. I even made up a saying ( I’m the kind of person who does things like that,) about the skewed value-system. Here goes: “We value too much what has little value, and we undervalue what has real value.”
For example: Beauty. We value a face and body, making a goddess of the woman who has what we think is the perfect look. (Ever notice that the perfect look changes from century to century? And it’s always what only a few women of the era can attain and not the mass population of them.) Chasing after the woman with the perfect look is something both men and women do, by the way. We then undervalue and even completely ignore whether a person has good, loyal friends whom she can pour out her soul to, or if she has the ability to be such a friend. And so on. Outward beauty is good, but it is not everything.
You probably knew I’d bring up that as an example, and you probably guessed sports would be next. I won’t go into a lot of it; and, again, I’m not saying either beauty or athleticism is a bad thing; but let’s just say it like it is: Just because the guy can do amazing things with (whatever kind you like) a ball, doesn’t mean he’s a winner in other areas of life. Do people care? I don’t know. Probably not, at least not all of them. Nonetheless sports, though great for many things, do not in of themselves make a man a man.
Okay, okay, I’ll stop at two examples.
Thankfully, cultures also share good qualities they value. The media and entertainment have done their best to destroy our values, and sense of right having any meaning, and wrong being an avoidable thing, but some values are indestructible.
Honestly is one. No one likes a liar. Everyone respects a person known for honesty (oh, except criminals, whose opinion I would hardly count as worth it.)
Loyalty is another quality you can’t help loving. People may exploit it, but that kind of loyalty is usually faulty, and a true friend will stick to all the good things in their friends and try to prevent the worst. (Not by being a fair weather friend, or trying to change people, but by bringing out the best in them.)
Generosity, when seen as genuine, is a quality most everyone is awed by. Because it does go against the grain. Even more so then many other virtues.
There are more, but you get the idea. I really hope you’re asking “So how can I apply this to my profession?”
Well, I confess to not personally having a lot of answers in this area, but I’ve heard good advice from people who have experience. (For a more thorough list please read my “Life Tips” Post.)
I’m going to start this off with a Bible verse that is perfect for the subject. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:3.) This means do everything as if God Himself ( Perspective: An All powerful, VIP, Super-genius,) had told you to do it. Not complaining or criticizing, but with a sense of honor. I hope you believe in God, but if you don’t, keep reading because this is still good stuff.
You must have values, everyone does, you can’t help it. Perhaps some of yours are ones I’ve already mentioned. I want to clarify what I mean by value. A value is any state of being, or trait, that you respect and admire in a person, place, or thing. Core values are the major values that govern your life. If you find out what yours are, and then apply them to every little thing task, it’s so cool how it’ll change the way you feel about it. Martin Luther King Jr. said this:
“If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music… Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”
If I might add a modern twist to that: you can scrub toilets and be great, if you do it nobly. If you realize every little thing done for another person can be a noble and unselfish act. Don’t complain because that devalues it, do not do it half heartedly because that denies importance, do it to the best of your abilities because that is who you want to be, and you will feel good about your work. I know this sounds like a tall order, and no one follows this advice (and I’m not the first one to give it) perfectly; but if you start trying, eventually you will see a difference.(Eventually sounds like a weak word, but it’s the truth that change can take time, so don’t be discouraged.)
If you still think that what you do is truly a waste of time then perhaps a different application of your occupation is in order. You can learn life skills doing almost anything. Being a waitress or waiter may seem like a waste of time (thought I don’t think it is) but take those skills to the next level. Wait on people like they’re royalty. Be creative. Or there’s always quitting, if you are honestly convinced it the wrong place for you. Nowadays quitting can be pretty risky, so unless you’re well-off it may not be an option. If it is, all I can suggest is to get into something you enjoy, or at the very least believe is important. That’ll be different for everyone.
So, when it comes down to it, almost anything can be worthwhile, this is one area where attitude makes it; (and personally, I want it to be God’s will.) I do encourage you to check out “Life tips” for some more suggestions on improving your situation. Or get some tips from wise people you know, whatever will work out for you.