Tag Archives: work

Working at Happiness

Story of the Day for Saturday May 19, 2012

Working at Happiness

                  It is God’s gift that everyone would see good in all his labor. 

                                                                                 Ecclesiastes 3:13

A Chinese proverb says, “If you want to be happy for an hour, get drunk. If you want to be happy for three days, get married. If you want to be happy for eight days, kill your pig and eat it. If you want to be happy forever, learn to fish.

Now, — don’t even think it – I’m not advocating getting drunk, and my wife and I have shared 28 years together, and we’re still on our honeymoon. Last month, we butchered our pigs, and I’ve been happy about that for several weeks.

We want to commend, however, the wisdom of the Chinese in seeing the vital connection between work and happiness.  Researchers at Gothenburg University in Sweden published their findings that people are made happy by working toward a goal (not the attainment, but the striving).

And this is where things get bollixed up. We tend to focus on the money (i.e., the “attainment”) as the source of happiness, when it is really the striving (i.e., the work) that brings fulfillment.

We are made in the image of God. As God creates, so he has made us to create – to be creative.  Work really is meant to be satisfying.

One of the most respected studies on job satisfaction was done a few years ago at the University of Chicago.  The school’s National Opinion Research Center found little correlation between job satisfaction and money. Nor is there a link between job satisfaction and time for leisure (two or the top three happiest professions work over 50 hours a week).

What makes a job satisfying? Helping other people, being creative, and using special talents and expertise.

Want to know the profession that produces the greatest job satisfaction? (Are you ready for this?) Pastors.  They are followed by physical therapists, firefighters, school principals, artists, teachers, authors, psychologists, and special education teachers.

Beside the school principals and psychologists, the pay is average.  But when we  are active in helping and using our God-given creativity, we are the happiest in our work.

The point of all this, however, is not that you need the right job to find fulfillment. What you need is the right attitude.  Figure out how your work serves others. Be creative. And recognize the uniqueness of the talents God gave you.

Final note: Although the University of Chicago doesn’t consider this an “occupation,” I believe the most satisfying job involves long hours and no pay. The occupation is called: “being a mom.”

Don’t Wait to Feel Inspired

Story of the Day for Friday July 29, 2011

Don’t Wait to Feel Inspired

                     All hard work is profitable, but mere talk leads to poverty. 

                                                                  Proverbs 14:23

 Johann Sabastian Bach is considered one of the most talented musical geniuses of all time. Maybe so. But Dr. K.Anders Ericsson, one of the world’s foremost experts on genius and natural talent has discovered something surprising.


But, first, let’s go back to Bach. Young Johann was surrounded by musical relatives. An orphan at the age of ten, he moved in with his oldest brother, who was an organist and composer. At fourteen, he studied music for two years near Hamburg.

At seventeen, he walked 250 miles (one way) to study for four months under the greatest organist of the day, Dietrich Buxtehude. He overstayed his visit by three months.

Bach’s passion to learn music was so intense he would stay up late to copy the works of great composers by candlelight – to better internalize the works of the masters.

Once hired as a musician in Leipzig, he composed a new cantata for every Sunday and feast day of the year.  Bach’s compositions total 1127 – and this doesn’t account for his many works that have been lost.


Is there such a thing as innate talent?

Well, what kind of a stupid question is that? Of course there is.

Yeah, well, have you heard of the work of Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, a professor at Florida State University?  Ericsson joined two colleagues at Berlin’s Academy of Music, and, had them divide the school’s violinists into three groups: expert, good, and acceptable. All the musicians were asked the same question: over the entire course of you career, how much have you practiced?

Those in the highest category practiced about 10,000 hours, those in the middle group around 5000, and those in the least accomplished class practiced only 2000 hours.

Ericsson looked to find “naturals” – musicians so talented they excelled without great effort, and “grinds” – musicians who practiced harder but never excelled.

He couldn’t find either.

Those accepted at the music academy obviously had musical talent. But the only factor that determined achievement from that point was not genius, talent, or inspiration, but how hard each student worked.


Don’t wait to feel inspired to pray or read Scripture. Don’t wait to feel inspired to do anything. Just do it. Hard work isn’t the enemy of God’s blessing, but one of the conduits to receiving it.


“I have worked hard,” Bach said to sum up his achievements, “anyone who works just as hard will go just as far.”

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)