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Are you living for the weekend?
The other morning, I hopped into an elevator and hit number 27 on the way up to a meeting. I looked over and saw one of the people I was going to meet standing in the elevator behind me.
“Good morning.” I said cheerfully. “How you doing?”
“Not bad for a Wednesday. Just three more days to go. I’m living for the weekend.”
We chit-chatted a little more until the elevator doors slid open and we each went our own way.
I turned and greeted the receptionist. “How’re you doing this morning?”
“Well, I’m here…” he answered, “…and it is hump day.”
“It is a good day to be here.” I said, extending my arms.
“Here in the office?” he asked. “Sure. But it’s better to be home on Saturday.”
“Here,” I said, stretching my arms as wide as they could reach. “…on the planet. Like my dad used to say, ‘it beats the alternative.’”
He gamely forced a smile.
I hate to preach, but if we’re just living for the weekend, we’re living for less than a third of our lives. Of course, I’m sure the people I was talking to that morning might also be living for holidays, paid time off, and vacation time, but I’d bet it still wouldn’t add up to that many good days.
And before you ask, don’t worry – I’m not one to spout that old-hackneyed saying “if you make a living doing something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
First, I don’t think I could make a living at anything I love doing so much that I’d want to do it every single day for the rest of my life.
Second, work is work. And no matter how much you love your job – and I do – you still have to do things you don’t enjoy. How do I know? I paid bills and did accounting today, that’s how.
Third, I think that whether you enjoy the day or not often has less to do with what you’re doing or where you’re doing it than with who you are.
For example, in Working for a Living, it doesn’t sound like Huey Lewis’ protagonist would be happy no matter what he was doing:
“Bus boy, bartender, ladies of the night,
Grease monkey, ex-junky, winner of the fight.
Walking on the streets, it’s really all the same,
Selling souls, rock n’ roll, any other game.
Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t,
I’m taking what they’re giving ‘cause I’m working for a living.”
As I see it, the answer is to fill your days with activities that give you the 3Ps – Passion, Purpose, and Pay.
Passion means doing something that turns you on, gets you excited, touches you on a deep level. Not all the time, of course. But a lot of the time.
Purpose means doing something that matters to you. Whether it’s providing for your family, writing the next great American novel, changing the world, providing service for your clients or customers, or simply doing your job as well as you can do it, your purpose should be as individual – and important – as you are.
Pay means you’re being properly compensated. You could be paid with money, of course, but it could just as easily be with thank-yous, attaboys or attagirls, spiritual or religious rewards, stock options, or whatever it is that gives you – and your efforts – a sense of value.
The key to all of this, of course, is to know what you want so you can set a course to find it. For that, let’s turn to the Ancient Greeks who inscribed the answer over the entrance to the Temple of Apollo on the Southern slopes of Parnassos Mountain almost 2,500 years ago: