“Rejoice in your toil”.
Condensed scripture from the Old Testament.
Religion is not a topic that will ever be on this blog, and this is no exception. I do not consider myself a very religious person aside from basic morality, but what very little I know of the bible, this is among my favorites as it’s so simple yet resonates deep.
Rejoice in your toil.
This can be interpreted a number of ways, and am quite sure that all of us reading here will have a different takeaway.
Here’s mine, and bare with me.
You have a corn farmer and a noble.
The corn farmer starts his process five years before the noble even knows he exists. He starts by buying a plot of land. Then he tills the soil. Then, he starts his crop with a single seed in the ground. With this single seed he waters it, provides it sun and shelter from the elements. He nurses that seed to a full stalk. He takes that stalk and then applies rigorous, dedicated work to it every day. During this process, he understands that the daily labor is what gets him towards his goal. His goal is where he wants to be, and he knows that is accomplished by a single day stacked on many other single days. For this, he does not resent his labor. He appreciates and becomes one with it. A few more years pass, his hands and skin now a bit more weathered, he has a full field of crops. His bones ache a little. He is tired. Hands covered in calluses, he stands back and appreciates every ounce of hard work that went into it, remembering that his full field started from a single seed in the ground.
He did not buy the land and then expect a field full of crops overnight.
The noble sits high in his tower day after day among luxury he did not earn, everything he needs ushered to him. His life has been free of physical effort, therefore he lacks what it feels like to bring vision to execution to fruition, through labor. Because of this, he lacks character and human resolve. He wants corn, but he has no sense of purpose or commitment to obtaining it.
On the day the market is open, both the farmer and the noble ride to the marketplace. The farmer hauls bushel after bushel by hand in the shadeless heat. The noble rides in his sun protected carriage with his servants steering.
When they pass a fallen tree in the road, the farmer takes a few minutes and bit more effort to go around it. The noble assigns men to remove the tree and complains every step of the way.
When they get to market, the noble insists the process be done quickly and wants to be in and out as quickly as possible. The farmer sets up shop and prepares for a long day.
At the farmer’s tent, he serves townspeople one by one, making modest exchange after modest exchange, one at a time in realization that his goal is not achieved in a single day. A single month. Or even a single year. He lives in the appreciation of that moment’s work and the single lessons he learns. For each single lesson gets him that much closer to his goal.
Only one man leaves the day truly happy, satisfied and a sense of purpose fulfilled.
No one reading this farms corn. Nor is anyone an English noble, and the suggestion is not to life a live of grueling labor. But the point is transferable to any goal in life, especially fitness and in our work life.
Anything that’s worth achieving requires work and the act of being uncomfortable. Without a deep appreciation for the process, the process fails.
It’s easy to be the noble and not want to put in the effort. It’s not so easy to be the farmer and appreciate every step along the way. To not just tolerate the grind, but rejoice in it for it gives purpose and develops character.
Reaching a goal is not simply about the end product. It’s about all of the development that takes place along the way. To see calluses as pay checks.
Commitment leads to more commitment.
Are you the farmer or the noble?
Like Jimmy Dugan said in A League of Their Own, “If it was easy then everyone would do it. It’s the hard…that makes it great.”