On dealing with work

  • Understand and be certain that you will meet "difficult" and hard to put up with people at work.

When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly.

  • But also be certain that this is from no fault of their own. We shall not be angry or hate them. Instead we shall set an example of virtuous behavior.

But I have seen the beauty of good and the ugliness of evil.

  • People are our "proper occupation."Be tolerant of others and strict on yourself."

Our job is to do them good and put up with them.

  • But when people themselves obstruct our "proper occupation" then they should become irrelevant to us.

  • They may impede us temporarily but they shall not dampen our resolve.

Do your best to convince them. But act on your own, if justice requires it. If met with force fall back on acceptance and peaceability.

  • At work your ego will be attacked , your progress will be impeded and you will be back stabbed. Think of yourself as a boxer. When a boxer is hit in the ring, he does not "denounce them for it or get upset with them or regard them as violent". A boxer instead becomes more vigilant and keeps a safe distance and competes without hatred. In a similar fashion we should excuse malicious colleagues for their behavior, but always be vigilant with them, but without hate.

  • Realize, by remembering the past, things that irritate us do not last. So do not worry about these temporary irritations.

As if the things that irritate us lasted

  • Understand that you were born to work, i.e. "set the world in order". You were not born to "feel nice" and consume luxury. Do you see the ants,bees and spider complain or in need of motivation?

  • Life is short like a sparrow flying past , you glimpse it and it gone.

  • Given the shortness of life we do not have time to waste. So do not work

    • for recognition / Credit (for example from your superiors).
    • for reputation (for example from your peers).
    • for approval of others (for example of your parents).
    • for wealth (it is a by product of stoic way of working , below)
    • As part of herd.
    • for ambition

Ambition means tying your well-being to what other people say or do.

Self-indulgence means tying it to the things that happen to you.

Sanity means tying it to your own actions.

  • Without the above , what is left to work for ? Work for what "you were designed to do", creating things that do what they were designed to do.

  • That is, work for the art, the craft. Like The "The nurseryman who cares for the vines, the horse trainer, the dog breeder".No one can take this away from you.

  • Work for attaining this craft. Perfect it. Do not fret on failures, do not treat it as defeat. Keep working.

get back up when you fail , to celebrate behaving like a human - however imperfectly - and fully embrace the pursuit that you've embarked on.

  • Once you have attained your craft then work for training and education of others. Giving your craft away.

  • If you work for other material stuff other than your self (mind-stuff) then you will suffer the following -

    • You will be "Envious and Jealous" for not having it.
    • and "Afraid that people might come and take it all away from you"
    • and find yourself "Plotting against those who have these material-stuff"
  • If you (often suffering from self-deceit) think that you don't have any significant craft to offer or suffer from a "dead end job", note the following things -

    • Everyday at work practice to get better in the following virtues -
      • Honesty
      • Gravity
      • Endurance
      • Sincerity
      • Austerity/ Moderation
      • High-mindedness
    • Do you still think there is nothing you can offer?
    • We are all connected. We are "working on the same project". Some work in one way and some the other.

"Those who sleep are also hard at work "- that they too collaborate in what happens.

Notes from Meditations: A New Translation (Modern Library)
This book is perhaps the most accessable translation of this ancient masterpiece definitely worth reading.