Work to live or live to work?

Plasma Ball

After a quick post on ‘Work ethics‘ now let’s take a look at this: do you work to live or live to work?

Vaibhav’s tweet caught my attention this afternoon.

It feels the same question to me as “Do you live to eat or eat to live?”.

The problem is we have made work and life separate with materialistic and dualistic mindset.

Because we took life out of work by focusing too much on economical productivity (without looking at mindless consumerism which in turn promotes compulsiveness in society), work feels lifeless to most young brains as they have been made to chase arbitrary goals in life (ranks, degrees, money etc).

Though all those things are necessary but it cannot be sole purpose of living.

Just like Simon Sinek says “Money is like fuel. Cars need fuel, but the purpose of the car is not to buy more fuel. Business is the same. The purpose of business is not to make money, it’s to advance a greater purpose or cause.” Source

Same way, our mind and body are vehicles to explore the world by travelling unknown territory (to find something new; or to find our true self and to know what it is capable of doing) and not a bunker to keep ourself caged to feel safe.

We should utilise resources to achieve something great (we have to change the notion that name, fame and money are by-product of the quest not the main goal of life).

Vedic culture of Bharat promotes spiritual duality (easy to understand; aka Bhakti) lead by spiritual singularity (tough to grasp for most people trapped in superiority-complex who don’t think beyond material knowledge or possessions).

Now let me give you a better thought along the same line of living to work or working to live.

Material incentives are always lucrative to make people work. But material world is limited, you have to keep coming up with new ‘material’ ways to inspire people to make them work.

Eventually that makes the job boring for both parties those who want to get things done and for those who are getting things done.

Material incentives also make people look for instant gratification by default. One can get rid off that compulsive mindset only when they think beyond material.

In the initial thought (a) work comes first and (b) life comes first; people may or may not take their work sincerely depending on their interest but no one can be less sincere about their life.

Our brains naturally will not allow us to take our life superficially (not that it is not capable but because it doesn’t serve any purpose to life). — Men without purpose distract themselves with pleasures – unknown.

What’s the number one common desire of everyone?

For what everyone is working?


In various forms.

Freedom from debt.

Freedom from judgement.

Freedom from ignorance.

Freedom from loneliness.

Freedom from toxicity.

Freedom from financial limits (financial freedom) etc.

Basically we want to get freedom from limitedness of our life. We want to reach beyond our limits.

And as Vaibhav mentioned that inspiring people to work just more hours is not going to work (it’s punny, isn’t it?).

We need to build environment, ecosystem and social sentiment which strives to achieve or understand something beyond physical or material limits we normally experience (i.e. space exploration, quantum physics, spirituality etc) to naturally inspire people to put in necessary work not to just influence the GDP but to experience their potential capacity to bring change in their life.

At the end I would like to include just one though said by Shankarachary of Goverdhan pith, Shree Nischalanand Saraswatiji.

परमार्थ के कार्यमे स्वार्थ सम्मिलित होता ही है परंतु स्वार्थ मे परमार्थका अंश मात्र होता है।