I had a very nice discussion with a young man I have had the privilege of knowing for a while. He wanted to meet to talk about his business. I was very glad to hear that not only did he hit his original targets, he beat them by a lot. I was so encouraged by him and his young wife, how they’re facing life together and maturing. During the conversation, he mentioned that he comes home tired. We discussed ideas on how to handle his growing opportunities better, but I also told him something I like to tell young people:
It’s good to work hard. It’s not wrong to feel tired at the end of the day. It’s good to push yourself to a higher level – especially when you’re young.
I told him, “That’s fine. Don’t see being tired as a reason to slow down. See it as a time to reflect and learn how to handle greater responsibility.”
And I encouraged his wife, “Continue to be supportive. Be encouraging. Tell him, ‘I’m proud of you for working hard. I’m proud of you for fighting hard for us.’ And you need to honor him in front of your kids, “Look at your dad. You become like him and do honest hard work for the people you love. You marry someone like him, someone who’ll work hard for you.’ That’s how you teach your kids the beauty of work.”
I left that lunch so happy for them.
Some people may say, “Why encourage him to work more? Isn’t he tired already? What about a balanced life?”
Here’s my reply to that:
1. It’s good to encourage people to work. The bible even says:
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
– Matthew 5:16
One big reason why I think Christians don’t have the influence they used to is because, in general, they’re no longer known for the excellent good works that make non-believers glorify God.
2. Being tired now can be cured by rest but growth helps keep us from getting as tired in the future. Let me explain:
When I was a child, carrying a 5 pound weight was a huge effort. Now that I’m older and stronger, it doesn’t provide the same stress nor require the same effort as before. It’s because I’ve grown. A lot of the loads I’m carrying today I never imagined I would be able to handle when I was younger. I remember feeling how heavy my initial responsibilities seem. But over time, with perseverance and discipline, my abilities improved, and what seemed so difficult actually became manageable. Because I had grown, what used to tire me so much no longer did.
Encouraging people to stretch gives them the chance to grow their strengths so that they may not be so stressed by the same challenges over and over. That’s how we progress.
3. I DON’T believe in a balanced life. Repeat. I DON’T believe in a balanced life.
I believe in a responsible life, meaning response + able, the ability to face life with prudence and succeed. And real life is many times not neatly organized into ideal categories. When you’re young, real life looks more like a constant grind and, like I said earlier, a foundation that only looks like a hole.
I asked my older brother, Joseph, about this, and he said:
“Balance implies a static condition. And life isn’t like that.”
Instead he told me about how a family friend of ours, Alex Castillo, defined it:
Dynamic Equilibrium – Moving with life and adjusting to things as they come.
Part of maturity is learning how to handle reality and make the most of it, NOT to live in a perpetual wish of a better future and living vicariously through the glamour of others in the meantime. It means facing the reality of your life’s situations and responding to them with courage, honor, and diligence. When we’re young, that’s the time to really sow and lay foundations. That looks like a lot of digging, a lot of bending down, a lot of getting your hands dirty. It’s not glamorous, and many times all that work seems like it’s just making a giant hole, but that’s not a bad thing. That’s how foundations look. Of course it’s very possible to build a nice looking superstructure with a shallow or no foundation. It’s just not going to last a shaking. Life stretches out. You want to build for the long haul.
That’s why, young people, and not-so-young-people wanting to build anything of importance, I encourage you to work very very hard.