We get what we work for, not what we wish for. I honestly used to hate sayings like that. I work every day—we all work every day. We just don’t always get to do the work we want to be doing for the million, myriad, mountain of reasons I’ve discussed here over the years. We are made to feel obligated to do a certain type of work, to live a certain type of life, and when we don’t fit in we are guilted for not doing what we should have in the first place. We set such a double standard in this society—we are both liable and responsible for our downfall but somehow success is based on luck—and if we aren’t successful in the things we want to do it’s our own fault but if we aren’t successful in what we are “supposed” to do, we are failures. After having some time off, I’ve been thinking about this a bit differently. It isn’t how hard we work, it’s the work we do toward what we want that makes it happen.
The work we are told to do will never fully get us the life we are looking for. The work we are meant to do will never live up to the standards of what we are told we need. There is validity in the opening quote but I don’t believe it is in making people feel guilty for things falling apart. We have created a society where no one quite fits in because the top is reserved for the few. We can’t blame people for putting in all the work and not getting where they want to be when the table only has so many spaces. It’s time to re-evaluate that system entirely but that is a piece for another day.
The nice part about the opening quote is this: we have the opportunity to change what we are doing at any time. The only time not getting what we want becomes our fault is when we awaken to a new opportunity and don’t take it. I’ve been there. I waited for permission for years, I begged for years, I worked for years on things that I had no interest in because I sought some time of recognition and power. As soon as I realized I didn’t give a shit about that, I saw things a different way. Not that I have the answer, I just don’t feel guilty in the same way I did, I don’t feel like a failure for not succeeding in a system designed to making me fail.
We do get what we work for in the regard we are able to see results from the things we direct our energy toward. We can wish for something and wait for it, or we can execute a plan to make it happen. Most of the time things don’t turn out the way we hope they will or the way we envision them, however, we are able to turn ourselves in the right direction and see something perhaps even better. We will at least be heading toward what we need instead of repeating what we are told. It’s about directing the energy toward what we want, toward our purpose. That is when the doors open to things we couldn’t previously see. There is opportunity everywhere.