After our discussion this past week I believe it is a good idea to outline my views on the subject. These views can be summarized by a quote by David O. McKay nearly 3/4 of a century ago. He writes:
“When one puts business or pleasure above his home, he that moment starts on the downgrade to soul-weakness. When the club becomes more attractive to any man than his home, it is time for him to confess in bitter shame that he has failed to measure up to the supreme opportunity of his life and flunked in the final test of true manhood. “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”
And I believe this. It is important to caveat that I believe in long, hard work, but never to the detriment of family. On the contrary, we should work to the benefit of family whether that a be a family of ten or a family of one. A “work culture” can sometimes reward this brand of imbalance, but it isn’t without cost. Working too much takes it toll, though it may be less apparent initially than the larger bank account or notoriety around the office.
In all aspects of life we can be figuratively fit, well, or sick. We should try to achieve and maintain physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, relationship fitness. To the extent that we can we should attempt to strike a balance among these competing priorities. This is what helps avoid polarization to become a “whole”. Synergistically, when a person becomes fit in one of these aspects the others magically improve in tandem. For a simple example, when a person decides to become more financially responsible she often improves her relationship with her spouse. Then then, magically, she choose to eat better and exercise more. Then she takes time to connect emotionally and spiritually on routine basis.
This is not to say that there will be chapters of our lives where we will need to work more. This could be days, weeks, or on occasion even months. We should be aware of the cost of this polarization and do our best to return to balance as soon as we are able.
So, in summary, it is good to work very very very hard, but to never forget that we are more than our pay check, report card, or professional reputation. We should resist glorifying overwork or allow it to become a part of our identity. Instead we should try to be fit, balanced, and whole.