Work Hard And Play Hard—Not Play Hard And Maybe Work

Work hard and play hard: words everyone should live by. Life is all about finding the right balance. Focusing all your energy in one direction will leave you feeling unfulfilled and lacking completeness. With all the possibilities that become available to us throughout our lives, having a little bit of everything is not only possible, but recommended.

Just about everyone will agree that leading a life filled with work and tasks that need be accomplished is no way to live. Surprisingly enough though, not many people seem to find an issue with living a life that is essentially one long  playtime.

Enter: human nature. It’s amazing how human beings have evolved into what we are today. It fascinates me endlessly to watch people and figure out exactly what they have going on in their heads, giving explanation to their actions.

Evolution has given people several important adaptations. The most relevant two being the need to achieve success, allowing us to improve ourselves and allowing for the human race to progress, and the other being the need or want for life’s pleasures. These two adaptations, though seemingly trivial, are entirely necessary for one simple reason: if they weren’t essential to our survival then we would most likely have gotten rid of them thousands of years ago.

Both being necessary to our mental sanity, you cannot survive by only satisfying one of these two urges. I am sure that most of you cringe at the thought of not getting some downtime in your schedule to do some much needed playing, yet most of you would be more than happy if you could fill your entire schedule with play, removing work from the picture entirely — or so you think.

The truth is that you cannot be happy by just having fun all the time. True, you can’t spend all your time working either, but since that case is much more rare and will inevitably lead to a mental breakdown resulting in a divergence from your work ethic entirely, I’m not so worried about it. Succumbing to the pleasures of playtime fun, on the other hand, will sneak up on you and leave you wondering why you wasted your life.

“When the earth folded in on itself and said ‘Good luck, for your sake I hope heaven and hell are really there, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.’ You wasted life, why wouldn’t you waste death?” – Modest Mouse

The key is balance — the best of all worlds. Life is about experiences and experiencing them to their fullest. The only way to get the full impact of any experience is experiencing it amidst a sea of its emotional and physical opposites.

Ever find that your first time was the best time? Obviously I am not talking about sex — this seems to be one of the few instances where you’d rather forget your first time. The first time we have a certain experience, the first time the unknown becomes known, is the time that we experience things in full force.

It’s like the first bite of pizza that you have ever had: it tasted amazing — so amazing that you started to eat pizza almost everyday. And then you got tired of eating pizza; it didn’t taste quite the same way it tasted that first time around, even though the pizza itself is exactly the same as it was the first time you had it.

Pizza will never taste exactly the same as it did that first time — that’s why firsts are so special. However, if you were to take several months off from eating pizza and started eating the exact opposite, like salad for example, then your first slice in three months after eating grass everyday will feel almost as amazing as the first bite you ever had.

This goes for just about everything in life; too much of anything is a bad thing. Even having too much sex will leave your insides hurting. Playtime should be a time that we cherish — a time that allows us to step away from our constant progression towards success and towards a better version of ourselves.

But what makes downtime so great is all the hard work that we put into following our dreams and into achieving our goals. Working on your mission, whatever that may be, is what your life needs to focus on. Playtime is only there for maintenance purposes; everyone needs time off to recoup and relax from time to time.

Play too much too often, and you’ll find yourself at a loss. The saying is: Work hard and play hard, not: Play hard and maybe work.

Paul Hudson | Elite. 

For more from Paul, follow him on Twitter @MrPaulHudson