By Julian Kalmar
Sloppiness and carelessness destroy our happiness. By performing actions crudely, with little regard for the quality of the outcome, we have no chance of receiving satisfaction from our tasks. We also lose peace of mind.
However, when we work carefully, something extraordinary happens. By dedicating ourselves to the task at hand—attempting to do things as well as possible—our minds become peaceful. The task actually becomes enjoyable as a sense of productivity sneaks up on us. When it's over, we feel satisfied in a job well done.
Conscientiousness, in our every movement, puts us in harmony with our tasks. This effect is magnified when we work in the spirit of goodness, in the spirit kindness, or find the higher purpose in our work.
In sharp contrast, when we hate every moment of what we're doing, we could care less. We think, "Who cares...I don't." We fill ourselves with dislike, wishing it was over. We want to be any place but here, doing anything but this. The end result is that we are miserable. We waste part of our lives to bad feelings.
A task takes the same amount of time whether we enjoy the process, or not. But...the passage of time is also subjective. By hating our tasks, time slows to a crawl and we sentence ourselves to prolonged suffering.
However, by putting our whole being into a task, time flies by. Before we realize it, it's over, time for lunch, or time to go home. We actually get paid for working fewer hours!
Something else happens, too. By attending to every detail, our awareness improves. We become more sensitive to the signals we used to ignore. We aren't just pushing a broom. We feel how our body reacts to the push of the broom. We find ways in which we become less tired while sweeping. We hear the way the broom sounds when it's a good sweep versus a sweep that misses dirt. We learn better how to hold the broom; the angle; the position relative to our body; the swing of our arm. We become aware of the subtle details, and we become more alive.
Aliveness is the sensation that we are fully in the now moment. We sense the world more vividly. We begin appreciating the colors, sounds, pressures, tastes, and smells to a high degree. We become more grateful and appreciative of everything around us. The result is a strong sense of well being. It's like the feelings we get from the glory of a Spring day when new life is bursting forth; the birds singing; green buds emerging...we feel great.
Although it requires some initial effort, the conscientious way of working, it's worth the effort. We actually gain pleasure from the part of our lives we used to call "work."