Life is too short to Work



As we have learnt it, there is a huge distinction between work and play. It is a common belief- the former is something which you do when you grow up and the latter is something that is done when you are still young. This notion has permeated our society to such an extent that people treat work as a totally different concept, which is not to be mixed with whatever they enjoy doing.

“There is an ugliness in being paid for work one does not like,” – Anaïs Nin

Work is considered to be the sole and prime way to make a living. This idea, that work and play are two disparate elements which do not mix has created an ocean of lies, misconception, beliefs and notions which have continued to prevail even now, in the 21st century. They are taught to us, fed on a regular basis and soon without knowing and willing, we start feeding ourselves the same thoughts, disregarding the hunch or that gut feeling which tells us to believe in our own ability and pursue what we want to, and not what we ought to.

“Most [people] have the ridiculous notion that anything they do which produces an income is work — and that anything they do outside ‘working’ hours is play. There is no logic to that.” – William J. Reilly

This is another reason why something which may be ones passion is more commonly referred to as a hobby with the sole intention of regarding it as concept which is separate from work thus discounting it from the fact that you can make a living out of it.

“Your life is too short and too valuable to fritter away in work. If you don’t get out now, you may end up like the frog that is placed in a pot of fresh water on the stove. As the temperature is gradually increased, the frog feels restless and uncomfortable, but not uncomfortable enough to jump out. Without being aware that a chance is taking place, he is gradually lulled into unconsciousness.”

These are excerpts from the 1949 book, How To Avoid Work, by William J. Reilly, as seen on Here are some more of those insightful excerpts which disambiguate the most complex and vague aspects of life into simplistic and easily absorbable lessons. Reilly’s precise elucidation of the whole work-life subject is just astonishing, especially when you consider the fact that the book was published in the 40’s. Here are some more of those excerpts and a link of the original post below.

“Actually, there is only one way in this world to achieve true happiness, and that is to express yourself with all your skill and enthusiasm in a career that appeals to you more than any other. In such a career, you feel a sense of purpose, a sense of achievement. You feel you are making a contribution. It is not work.”

“To my mind, the world would be a much pleasanter and more civilized place to live in, if everyone resolved to pursue whatever is closest to his heart’s desire. We would be more creative and our productivity would be vastly increased.”

“Altogether too much emphasis, I think, is being placed on what we ought to do, rather than what we want to do.”

This book has been circulating for 60 plus years now, if you happen to come across it let me know, I would like to get a copy for myself. As of now, a hard copy is nowhere to be found. Such wisdom is of timeless value, incapable of being diminished, and so it will continue to enrich our minds.


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