What does ‘Work is Worship’ means and what our work can be?

Work is where we spend most of our lives, especially in these super competitive times and in a tough economy. Most of us work for around 50-60 hours per week (at a minimum), which makes it around 108 to 130 days every year. The only other activity we do as much as work is sleeping. Thus work and sleep each takes around 33% or one-third of all our days in a year. In many surveys (here and here and here) organized by universities and other institutions around the world, it is known that most people (more than 50% of them) are not happy in their work and seek life outside of it, ie, in the 33% or one-third of the remaining time they have.

If time is our most important resource, think about it this way – We are giving two-thirds of our time away daily, and spend the rest one-third left thinking why we have so little time left. It is like giving a tax of 66% on our time. Now imagine giving back two-thirds of every salary away, and keeping only the one-third for ourselves. If we imagine this situation, we will feel anger, frustration and all other kinds of emotions. It is the same with time, but we don’t realize it because in our perspective money is something more real and substantive (which we can hold, see in our bank account) but time looks like a never-ending resource. But time does have a limit, and every minute you are not spending living your life, it is akin to giving away money. Imagine yourself giving away money physically every time you feel you spent any time which can be termed as ‘not living your life‘.

A popular and old proverb says that “Work is Worship“. It looks good only as a proverb and something very unreal in the times we live in. The common (and agreed about) perspective about work looks at it only as a tool to earn some money or achievement or reward so as to live your life in the spare time you have left. In this article, I am presenting another perspective on work according to which our work is a vehicle, a chance, an opportunity for each one of us to express ourselves and shine like a light and set an example for the whole world.

Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana

Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana - The sanskrit phrase in Gita which translates to "You have a right to perform your prescribed action, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your action." is also on the same lines

Have you watched Sachin Tendulkar walk into a stadium to play (which is his work)? How does the audience respond to that? Every time he walks in to bat, he gets a standing ovation from the audience and they stand and applaud. I guess this is what the adage – Work is Worship means, which is beautifully expressed in the way a Sachin Tendulkar or a Rahul Dravid bats. Before I divert to cricket, let me get back to the topic here. Now imagine every time you walk into your office, everybody notices and gives a standing ovation to you. Everybody recognizes the champion in you that has come to work for producing some amazing results which others will only dream about and watch from the stands.

Just changing the perspective can change everything about how we see our work, and what and how much it can contribute to our life. It is not something where we spend one-third of our time to get some money to spend in the remaining one-third. Instead, work is a platform where we can unveil the very best in ourselves. Work itself is our life, it is our chance to grow and become all we ever wanted to be. It is the most important, and the best thing in our lives, we shouldn’t miss or waste even a single second of it. It is a vehicle to become all that we ever wanted to become, and to have the life we always wanted to have. Life happens inside of work, not outside it.

I will end with a very powerful quote by James A. Michener –
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both. ”

What can I lose?

At every step new and unseen,
I am a little unsure and afraid!
It’s my choice, to go play outside,
Or just sit and rest in the shade!!

Every new idea I think and dream,
First seems crazy and idiotic!
But when I move ahead despite fears,
Results have not been short of magic!!

Sometimes I think and wonder,
The only one stopping me is myself!
Only if I can let go of the fearful me,
I can discover my true and real self!!

Thus every now and then,
I pick up an idea and just start!
For I have always been happiest,
When I have gone with my heart!!

Time will pass by and not wait,
Every second I have is hence precious!
Soon I realize what can I lose?
If I just do it, no point being cautious!!

You have nothing to lose but your chains - Karl Marx

You have nothing to lose but your chains - Karl Marx

White Space in our lives – Need and Importance

White Space is a commonly used term in the industry I work in, the Internet industry. White Space is the space that is left between text and images on a web page. It is often said that the more white space you have, the more prominent your text becomes. For example, Google.com has a lot of white space while Naukri.com has a drought of it….

Looking at life and ourselves, I want to apply the “White Space” principle in our daily lives too. We live in a world where we strive to be busy. Workaholic people, who spend 12-15 hours at the workplace are celebrated like martyrs in our society. Being busy has become a parameter for measuring success. We have filled up our lives with friends, work, projects, dreams, aspirations, and so on. When we pack our calendar from 8AM to 6PM, more often than not we will find no time for lunch, or re-group your desk, or reply to a mail from an old friend…

Applying the “White Space” principle to our lives, we need to realise the two kinds of white space that we find in our lives. One is which we don’t choose. Like time spent when traveling to work, waiting outside the client’s office for a meeting or waiting for your turn in a queue. We get this white space daily in our lives and more often than not we don’t make use of it and just let it go by. The other kind of “White Space” is what we decide to put into our lives. Taking some time off for ourselves just after getting up from bed, taking a few planning breaks in between, or a introspection break at the end of the day will not only help us relax and plan our lives better, it makes room for people and things that really matter.

Coming back to first kind of white space, I always try to make proper of whatever white space I get in my routine. If I am stuck in a traffic jam, I normally take out a book or article (which I always carry) and read some pages. It could be anything from business to jokes. If waiting for somebody for a meeting, I sometime just sit back with my eyes closed for 5 minutes which believe me, can really help focus better afterward. We will always get these unexpected white spaces in our lives daily and rather than being frustrated and honking on the roads, we can take this time to relax and rejuvenate for the rest of the day. Make use of this break by turning it into an energy booster, not an energy drainer.

The second kind of white space comes when you keep a little more breathing time in your calendar. Giving our self even a few minutes of breathing time everyday can make a huge impact in our lives. Begin small. Take 10 minutes out for yourselves every morning. Try to visualize your day ahead and how you plan to go about it. What tasks you want to be over by the end of the day? Or just do some breathing exercises and prepare yourselves for the day. During the day, take time between meetings. Go for a walk, and connect with your body, your breath and nature. It might be difficult at first, but we need to let go of the feeling that everything needs to be done right now. This way of thinking is embedded in our society and is very unproductive.

The point is to slow down and reconnect with yourself. How many times have you been too busy with your day-to-day schedule that you don’t even have time to think what you are doing? Learn to say “NO” to unimportant things, don’t try to “fill” time by doing something, just sit back and relax for a while. Try sometime to put your head in your mother’s lap for 10 minutes and relax. It feels great. Now remember the last time you did this!! Ever since I started taking time out for myself, I am feeling more rejuvenated and fresh. My anxiety and resentment are gone, I know what is happening with my life, and I am able to contribute more to those really close friends and family, as they are the ones who really matter.