Yun Yi's Stuff

Inspiration Vs. "Working Hard"

Posted on: November 14, 2012

Hobby
Hobby (Photo credit: Sergey Yeliseev)

I often don’t understand why people complain about “working hard” on their hobbies, such as writing, painting, playing music, gardening, cooking, etc. For what I understand, “working hard” means we are forced to do something we don’t enjoy, or something go beyond our energy limit, so it makes us feel more or less suffering, which is just opposite of the purpose of “hobby”. I understand that people work hard for their jobs, to survive, because that’s something they have to do, regardless they like it or not, but hobbies, if we feel suffering, why don’t we just quit?

I grew up with the notion of “working hard”. Trust me, the whole mainstream Chinese education to me is all about “working hard”. As my father put it, “if you don’t work hard, you would never be anything!” I still remember how he interpreted my quick interest shifting as “not capable of working hard”. He was right. I am not able to do that, but what he may not know is, not only I am not capable of working hard, but also I dislike doing it, and furthermore, I even “despise” those works done by “hard working”.

I think there is a giant difference between “working hard” and “working passionately”. For me, the former is suffering, the latter is totally a enjoyment, even both can be sweating – about which many people confused. Maybe the most famous saying about “working hard” is Thomas Edison’s quote: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” I CANNOT DISAGREE more. I think it should be 50% and 50%. And among 50% perspiration, there is not a slight amount of suffering. For me, all true masterpieces were done by “inspiration”, not by so call “hard working”. I like to be a little more “specific” about the difference between these two: “inspiration” for me means a perfect LOVEMAKING between a humans mind and “God” (I am not a believer so “God” here means our “Nature”), and “hard working” means RAPE, committed by an empty human mind to an exhausted human body. So whereas “working hard” is unpleasant, suffering and often futile, the creative process under inspiration is always productive and full of pleasure. No doubt whoever gets inspiration do not mind “working hard!”

Inspiration is a gift. Not everybody has abundant amount of it. So, if we don’t get inspired, what do we do? Nothing! I see so many people force themselves working on so call “creative works”, but for me, what they were doing is nothing more than pretending to be “creative”. I do think, pretending to know things we don’t know, to do things we are not capable of, truly is one of the most foolish things humans “committed”.

And the thing is, life is so much more than just “being creative”, and sometime it does require our absolutely “doing nothing” to see this (probably the most) wonderful part. “Doing nothing and everything is done”, lazy Lao Zi got it all.

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5 Responses to "Inspiration Vs. "Working Hard""

What a fantastic post, yunyi! I couldn't agree with you more…inspiration can't be forced…it's not genuine unless it's carried out under terms of enjoyment. “Doing nothing and everything is done,” is my favorite Lao Zi quote; words I am finding easier and easier to live by.

I'm of the same mind as you, yunyi. I never believed in working period, let alone working hard. Breathing only becomes hard work when you're dying. Otherwise, you don't even think about it.

@kris & np, thanks! i know both of you are Lao Zi' “fan”, so i have no doubt we all are “lazy” people who enjoy life in a special way.

I agree. 50-50 on life because you can work really had at things/life and it just doesn't happen. Good points.

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