Man with pregnant partner - How to Be Good at Work

2. Love
Where do we begin?

When I ask people the existential question, “Why are we here?” we might have a chuckle about why we’re in a particular board room, offsite hotel or coffee shop, but when I ask someone “How old are you?” and then ask the question, “How did you survive the first few hours, days, weeks, months and years of your life?” the answer is always something like “My parents, family and friends loved and cared for me.”

Why is love, care and nurture critical to human life? It’s because, as a species, our offspring are the weakest, most fragile and least developed in the animal kingdom.

Newborn and mother - How to Be Good at Work

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do”

Steve Jobs

Without love or care and compassion, there is no life, at least not a life worth living. Yes, in theory we could provide infants with all the physical resources they need to grow, but without the warmth and touch of other humans, their lives would be hell. Some say that the cruellest punishments we can inflict on another human being are solitary confinement and sensory deprivation.

… our purpose, our values and our morality must be grounded in love and compassion.

So, over the past 15 years, the first and deepest insight I had is that our purpose, our values and our morality must be grounded in love and compassion. When I share this experience and insight with people at work there is almost complete agreement about this truth. But, when I ask the follow-up questions, “Why do you work?” and “Why do you work here?” the conversation becomes very different, very quickly. “Do you love your work?” or, “Is the purpose of your organisation to improve the quality of life?” prompts many people to look away.

This is a moment of truth… 

So, the first and most important message of How To Be Good At Work is that I truly believe that the purpose of good work is to serve others and to make our world a better place. 

If you do this, then you will love what you do. You will not only do good in the moral sense, you will also be good in being your best and doing your best, more and more of the time.

“I can live without money, but I can’t live without love.” 

Judy Garland

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Mark Twain

As well as drawing my own conclusions I read and research many papers, books, articles and essays on how we, as humans, go about our business. Discover a selection and read on within More Good Thinking.