To Live Well is to Work Well

To live well is to work well, to show a good activity.

St. Thomas Aquinas

There’s a lot that must be accomplished in the 24 hours we’re given. From our careers and hobbies to our families and relationships, there are plenty of tasks to pack every day with. But what often happens is we ignore all but the absolutely necessary tasks and spend the rest of our time in front of the TV. We waste so much precious time and fall short of the people we really want to become.

The great philosopher Thomas Aquinas recognized that a life well-lived involves work. And not just work, but good work. Work that we are attentive to and we perform with great enthusiasm and devotion; work that contributes to society, not matter how small the contribution may be; work that allows us to provide for ourselves and those we love.

The problem with work is that we get burned out. After spending eight hours concentrating on our career, sometimes all we want to do is waste the rest of the evening on the couch. But Winston Churchill realized that, when our brains are tired with one specific activity, we can give it a rest by changing our focus to another type of activity. If you are staring at a computer all day and want to calm your mind, going for a walk or reading a book is actually more calming than watching TV. This is how great minds like Winston Churchill and Thomas Aquinas were able to be so productive. They lived well by working well.

How can you fill your downtime with activity? Reading a book is one thing to do; so is woodworking or painting; so is writing and sharing your ideas. No matter what, choose an activity that you truly love, so that you may devote your attention to it fully and never end up as the meek and passive minds who neither live well nor work well.

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