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Understanding Work- A Spiritual Take on Hustle


“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.” —Thomas Carlyle

Ordinarily, the belief is that work is a specific activity that one performs to earn a livelihood. Oftentimes, the word “work” and “job” are used interchangeably. But, are work and job the same thing? To find an answer to this question, we have to look at these two words individually and contemplate. Let us look at the differences between work and job.

Work implies to put things in order so that they work harmoniously and smoothly. A job on the other hand means performing a specific activity or a set of activities to earn a reward. A job is always related to a specific condition and it always performed to receive a reward.

What work really is?

As mentioned earlier, work is performed to allow other aspects of our lives to work smoothly. Work is not reward-based but work does allow one to establish the groundwork to perform other activities that can earn rewards.

So, if you are looking at a successful career, relationship, or a good life in general, personal work is absolutely essential, which is to say that you have to keep your ground fertile for crops to grow out. In other words, you need to ensure that the foundation of your life’s construction is always solid so that it supports any structure that you build upon it. What this secretly tells you is that work is a never-ending process. You have to do it until the day you die.

As you work upon yourself, you’ll notice that new avenues keep opening up in your life. These avenues give you new insights and point you towards new areas that require work. Metaphorically speaking, as you work toward making one piece of land fertile, you’ll notice that you own a never-ending field and all parts of the field need to be fertilized.

What is not work?

Work is not plotting. It’s not pre-planning for a specific desired outcome. You fertilize the soil just for the sake of fertilizing the soil so that when an opportunity presents any type of seed, you can sow it. So, work is done for the sake of work. Personal development is done for its own sake and not to get somewhere.

Types of work

Since we have looked at a broader definition of work, it is also important to look at if work is all about oneself. I have discovered for myself that there are two types of works – personal work and impersonal work. Let us look at each one of them in detail.

Personal Work

Personal work boils down to self-development and making sure that one’s own life is in order. Bringing order into one’s life means a healthy physical, spiritual, and psychological state. These three states must be put in order for other functions in life to work seamlessly, including a career, a relationship, and any other passion one may have. 

Impersonal Work

I like to describe impersonal work as a type of work that one does toward the well-being of his family, society, country, and ultimately toward the world itself. The characteristics of impersonal work include the well-being of others, tolerance towards others, and genuine love toward others. It is important to note that impersonal work can only be carried out only when personal work has progressed to some degree. Why is it so? It is because if you are confused and disintegrated within yourself, you will have a really difficult time to know what is good for others and what is good for the world. 

I had to draw the distinction between personal and impersonal work to drive the definitions home. But, personal work and impersonal work are not two separate things. One could look at impersonal work as an extension of personal work. Once personal work or self-development has been carried out to a certain degree, impersonal work or collective development automatically takes place. What I mean to say is that seeing your personal development in life, people would be willing to learn how did you turn out to be the way you are. It is then that you will be able to guide people and help them grow in their personal lives. This is called collective development. 

Final thoughts

So, work is what we do to bring order within ourselves and in people around us. This order is not a type of order that is seen in courts of law or law enforcement. This is an order where every human being functions from a place of clarity, love, and true goodness. If you feel that you are disorderly within, it is time to work and what you’ll notice is that working on oneself never really comes to an end. 


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