Why is there a common distinction between life and work?

Is it Universally accepted that life is what we enjoy, our likes, hobbies and passions; and that work is essentially a burden that we have to go through in order to be able to live?

I don’t know where that distinction was made, or even when it was accepted. What I do know is that every day I see more and more people “stressed out” or “depressed” and most of the time that anxiety comes from what they are doing at work. I see new professionals – fresh out of College – working  twelve hour shifts, only to come home to answering e-mails until 2:00am on their BlackBerry devices. Sure, they work at global corporations and earn tons of cash; but, is it worth it?

Why do we need tons of cash really? Does it make us happy? Does it comfort us when we are sad?  There are people in this world who live on so little yet are so happy and satisfied with their lives, all whilst others in great financial situations are lost in depression and addictions. Money does not give us satisfaction, nor is any relevant to a person’s success as a human being.

Somewhere along the way, someone decided that a person’s success was measured by their ability to make money. Sadly, somewhere along the way someone believed them.

There was a time when a person was valued because of their communicative and interpersonal skills, or their abundance of knowledge in a specific area. There was a sense of morality and respect for those who achieved more with their lives – not in a material way, but rather in ways that transcended beyond them. People had a specialties that made them different from others and at the same time made them a necessary link in a community’s chain. Everyone has a personality and that same personality usually invites them to perform a certain kind of activity. There are those who teach, those who rescue, those who build, those who farm, those who clean, those who count, etc.

A community can survive in a sustainable way if its members include at least one of each type of required “specialists”. Since this is not always the case and in many occasions there are more than one of a type and none of another; a common sharing “protocol” has to be created. Some used gold, others used silver, but in any case it involves some type of currency that enables people to exchange goods that are not equal in material value. Until that point I am quite clear on why the existence ofmoney. What I am not clear about is who decided that money should be looked at as goal in life?

Money is not but a means to obtain something. Since it cannot be an end by itself, then it cannot bring a sense of satisfaction to a person. Satisfaction means to fulfill one’s expectations or goals. If one’s goal is to get money, then as soon as that money comes –  there is nothing left to wish for.

People work all day and earn money to buy material goods that they think will make them happy. As soon as they obtain those things, they realize they want something else. They buy other things which in turn makes them work even harder to pay them off, which in turn diminishes their happiness and makes them buy more stuff. The vicious cycle can go on forever.

In my opinion, it is better to look for things like: love, friendship, happiness; since none of these require a monetary investment and all of them can be obtained by simply caring for others, helping others, or simply making others laugh. In my experience, the most gratifying thing in life is giving a hand to someone else, sharing what you possess (be it knowledge, food, or even money) instead of keeping it for yourself. I’ve learned that when you give something away, you always end up getting something in return. You might get just a smile, or perhaps make a new friend; but you’ll be one step closer to achieving happiness. And hey, doesn’t that feel great?