The Bliss of Excessive Labour

Often I have asked myself why some people seem restlessly occupied, have a densely filled agenda and desk, and talk about their stressful work, but at the end of the day have no better results than others who still have spare time for finding rest and recreation.

It might seem that excessive labour offers good security. First of all it creates an impression of this person as being utterly important. Whoever works unceasingly must be indispensable. A person who has done so much and complains of the burden of his work will more easily be forgiven if he commits some error. He may hope to be envied or even pitied. If it is noticed that his work is never finished, some of his tasks may be delegated to somebody else. He can at least avoid receiving further tasks too early. In the course of time, his spectrum of work will be defined more narrowly but at least there should not be too many new challenges awaiting him. On the other hand, he will not want too many jobs to be taken away from him, lest he lose the great advantages of his work overload. When other colleagues are made redundant, the sheer amount of work he has to do is seen at first glance, and he will be considered indispensable. Even those who are self-employed or work as civil servants can enjoy the good conscience of having done all that they could by having filled the available time completely with industrious activity.

How disadvantageous would it be, indeed, if he succeeded in being finished with all his tasks in shorter time! Or, if he even took a break or thought about some concept in which he could work in a far more relaxed yet more effective manner! This would surely cause him to suffer the envy and animosity of others. But worse would be the struggle with that inner voice of conscience with its remark: “The man who takes a rest is lazy.” I am convinced: Whoever wants to achieve much while being relaxed and be successful with little effort will need to have a strong personality.

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