S/he Works Hard for the Money—The Practical Side

“TV dinners” which became popular more than 50 years ago now were one of the first steps in us becoming an “instant culture.” Microwaves became popular not long after. Now we have instant messaging, online shopping that magically produces brown boxes at our doorsteps in days to even hours, personal shoppers and access to a literal world of information at our fingertips via the tiny computers we cannot live without (aka—smart phones).

To say that Americans are used to instant gratification is a vast understatement. We are used to having almost anything we want and having it instantly. We buy an outfit on Wednesday online to wear on Saturday. We order our groceries on Thursday to pick up on Friday. And we order fast food “our way” and eat it in our cars even before we arrive at our next destination.

So what has all of this progress done for us—besides make us very busy? It has drastically changed our ability to be patient. We are less mindful, less patient, more anxious and more distracted than we have ever been. We want instant payoff for our efforts. Lost is the art of waiting, working hard, relentlessly pursuing our dreams and working long hours to obtain distant goals.

I read a study years ago that compared American culture to another culture (I will not say which one because honestly I cannot remember). The study stated that in America we focus on the end goal. We do not lean into the journey of wherever we are going. Instead, we rush to the end…anxious for the prize. In the other culture cited—they all still worked towards a goal, but they celebrated the journey. In their culture, the focus was on THE PROCESS of working hard and investing of yourself in order to achieve your dreams. Hard work, time, investment and what I call “blood, sweat and tears” were prized ALONG WITH the end goal. In America, the study intimated that we mainly value the prize—neglecting all that can be gleaned and learned from working hard, sacrificing and pressing on–no matter what.

How about you? What are you trying to achieve in life right now? Everyone has goals. What are yours? Are you frustrated with trying to achieve them? Or are you soaking up the beautiful process of getting to where you are going even while honestly admitting that some days are hard? I truly believe that all good things in life require time, treasure and talent to obtain. In fact, I propose that if whatever you are working towards does not require these things of you, you will not truly treasure it in the end. In the same vein, the journey to your treasure is just as important as your treasure if you take the time to notice it. Life is about the journey AS WELL as the destination.
Are you feeling stuck or facing a major life stressor that is impeding your goals? Do you struggle with embracing hard work even when the payoff feels far away? Who did you grow up watching work and what was their work ethic like? What positive or negative things did you learn from them?

If you are feeling hopeless, stressed or overwhelmed regarding your current life situation a licensed mental health counselor can help you. She can help you identify and process your feelings about your life goals and help you find meaning in the journey to your destination. Please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.


Yolanda Brailey