Find Your Fulfillment in Work
Here are all the reasons you need to be great.
Have you ever wondered why we’re here? I mean the big question. What’s the point of life?
The answer is simple. We were created to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Love for our neighbors is Jesus’s love! So it’s fulfilling. It feels good. You just feel so good when you love your neighbor!
You don’t have to be a Christian to experience this kind of fulfilling love. Love is, simply put, it. Loving others is what makes you tick. It’s why any of us enjoy life.
There are no limits to love, either. There is no law against love. You can love your neighbor in any environment, and in any job or career.
Loving From Within Your Job
Have you ever thought about work as a means to loving your neighbor? Obviously, you work to earn a paycheck. And lots of us work because we want to earn tons of money. Why not? There’s nothing wrong with tons of money!
But why stop there?
Most of us can do something more.
Maybe you’re not earning tons of money yet. Maybe at the end of the month, you only have an extra fifty cents. Maybe you only have an extra dollar. Maybe two. You may not think you can do much with that, but you can. You can pay for someone’s day.
Imagine that. One or two dollars is the same amount of money that people in some countries make in a day. It doesn’t matter how hard they work, or how many hours they put in. One or two dollars is all they can earn. That’s all anyone will pay them. This is chronic, intractable poverty, and it’s real.
So if you give a little extra, you can double somebody’s pay for one whole day. You really do have the ability to do that!
Loving From Within Your Achievement
A lot of us work for more than money. A lot of us work hard because we’ve also set goals. We say, “I want to achieve something great! I want to get that raise, or that promotion, so that’s my goal. That’s achievement, man! That’s doing something great.”
That’s awesome, because there is so much you can do with that kind of ambition! Think about it. What’s the point of being great, if it’s just to be great? That’s boring. Wouldn’t you rather turn that ambition into a means to an end?
Are you working hard because you want to be the president of your company? Yes? Great! But why?
“Well,” you might say, “because that’s my goal!”
But why is it your goal? What are you aiming for? Two million dollars a year? Ten? Fifteen? That’s awesome, but why? Why do you want to be rich? What for?
You might be thinking that you’d like to buy cars and boats and houses. You probably want to fly all over the world and enjoy luxuries. I understand! I think almost everybody understands. But the thing is, you can only do that so much. There are only so many boats or cars or houses you can buy before you start to get bored.
As a baseball player, I was all over the income map. I started out in apartments with the minimum, and now I live in a beautiful home. And I’ve learned that they both achieve the same thing. I sit on the couch and watch TV. I go in the kitchen and cook food.
It’s not like I wake up every morning in awe. It eventually becomes normal. It’s just a place to live.
So to me, if the only reason you want to work hard is to be in a beautiful home, eventually you’ll be disappointed. We all need more. We want fulfillment, man. That’s what we really want.
I understand working hard because you want to have a nice house for your family. We all want safety and comfort. But we can do so much more. We can dream much, much bigger dreams, and we can achieve them, too.
Loving From Within Your Greatness
I found fulfillment in working hard because it gave me the ability to help out someone else. There are so many people out there who work just as hard as I ever did, and will never, ever, ever, be able to make more than two or three dollars a day. Those are the people I keep in my thoughts, every day of my life.
Did you know that you can actually help someone start a business, in countries like Uganda, Kenya, India, or Haiti? You don’t even need much money. You can do microloans.
Here’s an idea. Get together with your yoga club or your youth group and put in a well. Depending on where you focus your efforts, you can provide clean water for a whole village for as little as $2,000. Or you can use all that hard work and ambition and go as high as $10,000. Challenge yourselves!
There are a lot of things a well can do that we don’t think about, like provide education for a village’s children.
I got an education, and I never had to think twice about it. One morning my parents said, “You have to go to school,” and so I went to school. But there are kids all over the world who say, “I’d like to go to school. But I’m too sick. I don’t have clean drinking water. I’m literally wasting away from diarrhea. I’m so weak that I can’t walk.”
Or they say, “I want to go to school. But I don’t have time. My mom needs clean water to cook food and wash clothes, and we need drinking water too. But the well with the clean water is in another village, so I have to walk seven miles a day to bring forty gallons home.”
That’s why I want to encourage you to work hard and achieve greatness! Then you can get together with three other people, and the four of you can chip in $2,000 each. With that, you can provide fresh water for 1500 people for life. You will eliminate 90% of their diseases. The kids can go to school and get educated, just like we got educated, without ever thinking twice about it.
Doing Greatness Bigger and Better Through Love
If you can truly grasp what other people are going through, you are going to want to work harder. Your goals will change. Your concept of greatness will change. You’ll say, “I want to be the president of this company so that I can make the rules.” Then when you become president, you’ll say, “The rule is that a portion of this company’s funds is going to build wells.”
How about this? Aspire to be a successful entrepreneur. Thens you can take your company and go help people!
The world is full of opportunities for fulfillment, if you’re not just working for a paycheck and thinking only of your own comfort. There is so much you can achieve, if you start thinking about how to love your neighbor. That’s when you’ll really start to tick. That’s when you’ll truly enjoy life!
I am the author of To Stir a Movement: Life, Justice, and Major League Baseball (2013), and my second book is in the works. Visit my Huffington Post page here. I blog here. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter: @JeremyAffeldt.