Work And Health
( Originally Published 1927 )
Work is not a curse. It is one of our greatest blessings. Like all good things in life, work should not be overdone. All excess is bad. But where work kills one, worry kills at least one hundred.
Manual workers generally believe that brain work is easy. Those who have tried both physical labor and mental work have invariably found that constant mental application and concentration are the most tiring of labors. Original this king is such hard work that very few undertake it.
Those who do manual labor should make it a rule o take both physical and mental gymnastics. The physical ones should be corrective, using those muscles that are not brought into play during the working hours, and they should be of such a nature that they correct any tendency toward physical deformity brought about by the nature of the occupation. In this way crouching, stooping, one-sidedness or any other postural abnormality can be overcome or prevented.
The mental gymnastics can take the form of study, or reading of good books, such as poetry, the best novels, history, biography, travels or the best of religious books. This widens the horizon and adds beauty and color to life.
Spending the entire day indoors is abnormal and unnatural. It destroys health, and causes premature aging, unless health measures are instituted. The deep breathing, care of the skin, and exercise recommended in other chapters aid in maintaining health. Those who spend many hours in offices or shops should make it a rule to get out of doors and walk, climb hills, play golf, play tennis, chop wood, go fishing, go swimming-that is, partake of one or more open air recreations as often as possible. You have not the time and you can not manage this, you say. You have all the time there is, all the time anybody has, and if you get out of the I-can't class into the I-can and-I-will club, you will notice that you have plenty of time.
The housewife with children has long hours and her work is so trying that it would drive the average man to distraction in a few weeks.
She needs at least one hour of rest and relaxation after lunch, an hour sacred to herself when no intrusion should be allowed. No matter how busy s e is, she has the time for her hour and she cat, then rest, relax, and readjust so that she will be a better wife and mother than are those «ho fail to rest.
"I can't" is the common cry. "I can and I will" is the motto of those who achieve.
Work builds a better body, a better mind, and i helps to maintain the morals at a high level. Service is ennobling.
The worker thrives best when he is interested in his work and enjoys it. All of us should enjoy our work. If we get into something that is uncongenial, we can change. "I have wife and three children and I can't give up my present position," says Mr. Fearful. The world is full of him. Either he ought to learn to like his work, or else he owes it to himself to do something else. Bickering, complaining, soldiering on the job, disloyalty to the firm, and clock-watching lead to failure.
Whether a man is to succeed or fail depends largely on his mental attitude. If a man has unsatisfactory work he should take stock of himself and see if he himself or the work is at fault. Let a man think along these lines : "I will do this job so well that the firm can not afford to keep me in my present position. I will render such service that it will be obvious to all that I am ready for better and bigger service. I will do my best each day and plan how to do better the next day." Let a man do his work in this spirit and either his firm or other employers will take care of him, and the money part will take care of itself.
Let a man who is dissatisfied with his own line of work take this position : "I feel that I can do better in a different line, so I shall start immediately to prepare for the work I like best. But in the meantime I shall give my present employers the best I have in me." Soon he will be doing better in his present position and be satisfied, or else he will be working in a new position.
Work is the individual's form of service. The financial returns are important, but those who are always thinking of getting the most money for the least service usually end with no money and small earning capacity. Keep the service end in view, "How can I serve best most?'' Of course, we have to use balance about things. There are grasping people who al our time and labor and we have to ourselves against them by demanding the remuneration we deserve.
Congenial work is one of our greatest blessings.
What is the trouble with those who stay in a rut and drag along wearily for years, doing they hate? They are generally fearful, and they do not plan and think constructively; they prepare for work which they like. With less than the average amount of gray mat-individual can make a success in life, is a success in service.
Life is full of opportunities. The world is s to bestow the laurel wreath of victory. cynics rant, let the pessimists rave, and m meet the failure for which they labor so hard and which they so eminently deserve. constructively, work constructively, ever and the ideal of great service before you, becomes impossible to fail in life's work. nd spite and jealousy of those who have plodded to the heights never bring success. Faithful work, helpfulness, and courageous planning bring material success and aid in maintaining health and prolonging life.
Those who understand their work find it interesting. Study your occupation, and learn the reasons back of the processes. In doing this you make yourself more valuable, aside from the pleasure you derive.
Too long hours are monotonous, and monotony fills the body with fatigue poisons. Eight hours of labor each day should suffice both for light work and manual labor. No individual can concentrate and produce original work for so many hours.
The idea that one should retire from work is deep-rooted, and is one of the causes of many premature deaths. We should keep on working, for we can not keep our possessions with-out using them, and this includes life. The ideal should not be to retire, but to serve long and well. True, if one has been engaged in very arduous labor, it is good to change to something lighter, and balance the time between responsible work and reflection. Those who have worked hard can change their occupation.
Many have a useful hobby during their most active years, and they later give up their previous us occupation and busy themselves with their hobby. This is a good way to solve the problem.
Nature exacts of highly organized beings that they s e active or else cease to function as individuals. She allows animals of low grade to be slothful, but who would care to be an alligator ?
We can not live of, by and for ourselves alone. No matter how humble our post and portion, there is great satisfaction in knowing that we are a sound part of the great plan, and that we are functioning well. We can best express ourselves in service. It is not what we get but what we give that matters in the eternal scheme of things.