Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho

Ma always says that it is the greatest bracha when a man (in this case, Ta) enjoys his work. My childhood was never marred by any sort of complaints regarding job frustration; following supper, Ta would peacefully consume the newspaper, no aggravation in sight. 

Since youngsters tend to accept their reality unquestionably, it was only when I was older that I heard of dissatisfaction in the workplace. As I date now, I make a point to be aware if the bachelor in question is grumbling about his day, or refers to the state of his employment with contentment.
The charity world is bursting with volunteers, Aaron Hurst reports in "Being 'Good' Isn't the Only Way to Go," because many people feel no "meaning" at work. But, "meaning" isn't guaranteed in the non-profit world. "Meaning" comes from engagement. 
Their findings reinforced previous research that had demonstrated that the ways individuals viewed work might be more tied to their personality traits than to the work itself. They infuse their work with purpose learned from past experiences. How they view work may largely be driven by the role models they had growing up. Some see it as merely a chore in their lives, while others view it as the core of life.
Many articles I have been reading lately, regarding secular topics as well as Jewish philosophy, are encouraging effort no longer for a future goal, but for its own sake. 

The family motto: "Keves baboker, echod." (The pasuk really goes, "Es ha'keves ha'echad ta'aseh baboker.") The service in the Bais HaMikdash was repetitive, the same litany. When did the repetition in our lives, our daily service to others, began to lack meaning? 

Vacuuming the rug can have meaning, if we make a point to see it.  


rr said...

Please explain the family motto. I don't get it

Daniel Saunders said...

I also like to be in a routine that I enjoy. I deliberately picked a career I think I will enjoy, despite it being relatively low-pay and low-status.

However, there is a flip-side to this. In the Hasidut of Peshischa and Kotzk, routine is seen as very dangerous. IIRC, there's a quote of the Kotzker (that I don't have time to look up) that nothing is more dangerous to a person than routine.

I think the danger is that routine can quickly become stagnation, where not only is there no growth, but activities are performed on autopilot and growth that has been achieved is forgotten. I don't know what the answer is; recently I've been trying periodically to throw myself out of my comfort zone until I get settled in a new routine, then throw myself again. It's scary!

Princess Lea said...

rr: It can have a number of derivative explanations; the sentence is describing the Temple service, which began the same way, every single day, the same time. You get up, you take of what needs to be taken care of, calmly going out to seize the day.

DS: But I am not a chassid. :)

My Zeidy wasn't a chassid. He got up every day, and by every day, I mean EVERY DAY (even the day following my mother's wedding) at 4 a.m., said his Tehillim, davened, learned, and then eventually left to work.

That is a routine worth aspiring to.

A routine mind is where it the pitfalls are. If you also make thinking critically part of your routine, then that should prevent one from falling into stagnation.

Daniel Saunders said...

I'm not really a Hasid either, I'm just into the Kotzker! And I thought it was an idea worth sharing. However, I remembered later that the Kotzker says that routine is good in Torah study, but nothing else.

Agreed about a routine mind, but I know that I, being a creature of habit and apprehensive of new experiences, need to forcibly push myself out of my routine sometimes, otherwise it becomes a rut. It may be different for other people.

Princess Lea said...

I am also apprehensive about new experiences, but I don't think the path to greater self-awareness is necessarily in new experiences.

Self-awareness is based more on a choice in how to alter perspective. It's about critical observation, and rumination. One Shabbos I was stumbling about in a furrowed-brow state as thoughts were tumbling about.

For myself, since I am easily overwhelmed, it is when I am busily experiencing new things that my self-awareness plummets.

It is when I have the morning calm of my inborn early rising tendencies can I process and classify and experience dawning comprehension. But if there is no routine, where does one have the time to calmly think?

For instance, when Einstein was having a mental rut, he got a mind-numbing job in the patent office because when the brain isn't overloaded, the deep processes are able to percolate unimpeded or forcefully. (I got that from "The Big Bang Theory.")

Newton was idling beneath an apple tree when he had his epiphany. Archimedes was in the bath. Chances are, the greatest new ideas are not discovered when the scientist decides to go sky-diving.

Daniel Saunders said...

I don’t think self-awareness and personal growth are the same. I am self-aware when by myself. But personal growth, for me, involves reaching outwards, because left to myself I will spend absolutely all my time alone. I don’t have many friends who will invite me to things, so I have to be completely self-driven otherwise I will not socialize at all. Likewise, I won’t try new experiences – I don’t mean skydiving, but forcing myself to go to new shiurim, volunteering, places where I might meet new people etc.

Perhaps I shouldn’t generalize from my extreme introversion, shyness and mental health issues, though. I incline too much to routine and introversion, so, as the Rambam indicates, I need to force myself to the other extreme to achieve the middle path in the long run.

As for thinking, I tend to think while walking, even just pacing the room deep in thought. “The problem is solved by walking” as the saying goes. I suppose this is routine, at least for me, as I don’t drive and I either jog or go for walk every day. But as I said, I ruminate too much (this is a classic symptom of depression, the ‘stuck record’ of the mind).

My understanding is that Einstein worked as a patent clerk because no one would employ him! But I don’t much like The Big Bang Theory anyway; I prefer The IT Crowd which is sort of the British equivalent, only more surreal and with more likeable characters.

Princess Lea said...

Introversion is not a disability. It is merely a personality type. Extroverts rule the world now, and since they hog the media the world considers them "normal." They're just 50% of the population.

I don't socialize as much as other people, because I am an introvert. Not that people can tell, though. Introverts aren't eccentric hermits; they just aren't party animals and like being able to hear themselves think.

You don't even have to be prone to depression to get into the "stuck record" mode. I got about 4 hours of sleep last night due to some aggravation that popped up right before I went to bed.

In my view, self-awareness leads to contemplation, which leads to personal growth. In my case, the majority of social situations leads to frustration and rumination. She said that, he said that . . . Not growth, more like regression. I'm more tolerant and less judgmental when I don't talk to people. Every once in a while someone lovely comes along and reaffirms your faith in humanity, but they are few and far between.

But your self-awareness concludes one way for you; it concludes another way for me. :)

Princess Lea said...

And I must get on acorn.tv to get all the British television! (Do they have close-captioning, do you know? The lingo is so different I need a visual aid.)

Daniel Saunders said...

I know introverts aren't eccentric hermits, but I, alas, probably am... hence needing to force myself out (although I do a fair amount of "He said, she said" rumination too). As you say, we are different. And I try to tell myself eccentricity isn't a bad thing (see my comment on your latest post).

Sorry, but I'm amused you can't understand British English! I have an Anglo-phile American friend with the same problem. however, we get bombarded with so much American TV and films (sorry, movies) that your slang swiftly joins ours.

If 'close-captioning' is what we in the UK call 'subtitles' then I would imagine so. But I have idea about acorn.tv. To be honest, there is actually very little contemporary TV I watch (mostly Doctor Who and Sherlock). I much prefer to re-watch DVDs of old British science fiction programmes from the sixties and seventies. They don't make 'em like they used to... (But, no, I am not old enough to remember them from first time around!)

Princess Lea said...

I like the BBC mysteries they show here on public television. American television is rarely this good. I mean, this land invented "The Real Housewives," while you guys have Shakespeare.

Daniel Saunders said...

Well, Shakespeare isn't representative of all British culture, sadly. We have plenty of rubbish TV of our, aside from what we import.

Anyway, don't be too down on your native land: you gave us Babylon 5 which is my favourite space opera, more than Star Trek or Star Wars (sorry).

Princess Lea said...

Your land did give us Patrick Stewart, and we are eternally grateful.