“He who clings to his work
will create nothing that endures.”
~ Stephen Mitchell (trans.), Tao Te Ching: A New English Version (New York: Harper Perennial), 2006.
Paradoxically, the worry, stress, and anxiety we experience around work is a function of not paying attention to our work.
When we “cling” to our work, we are fixated not on what we have to do, but our opinions and feelings about what we have to do—on our selves. Our attention is pulled out of the present—the task at hand—and inward toward concerns over the results and how they’ll be perceived by others.
But the clinging also takes our focus off of others as recipients and beneficiaries of the fruits or our labor. We dwell on how we will judged.
By taking work too seriously, we diminish its quality, and stymie the condition for its excellence: serious play.
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