Hard Work and the Good Life

Cool, quiet days in a small village in the middle of Bohemia come to life in a way I imagine they did centuries ago. The smell of wood stoves, sun rays making their way through the mist, and people preparing for a good day of hard work.

The work is exhausting but full of vitality. Energy created by the confidence of giving each day the best, a hallmark of a successful life. Faces of workers mapped with lines, each etched with a tale stretching back in time. One day falling into another, each story taking us to where we are now.

Days constructed with skill, hands crafting together a life of quality to stand the test of time. In the end, if everything goes right, life will be made a bit easier for those who carry on after we are gone.

Small miracles surround us daily, people who embrace the noble philosophy to strive for perfection. Whether a builder of factories, baker of bread, or a mother giving her life for her children ~ all understand while pure perfection is a myth, the pursuit of this mystery welds together a foundation of life.

It is the humble appreciation of hard work which makes it all possible: the key ingredient to ignite the body in the morning so to retire at night with gratitude.

Opposite are those where the thought of going to work tastes like poison.  Every morning a heavy sigh, bleak thoughts sinking the mind into depression. A day ruined before it begins, a week sentencing the soul to five days of drudgery.

There is only the false glow of the weekend to offer a brief respite; yet with habits entrenched the weekend turns bitter as well. The mind swims in melancholy, a ruthless cycle. Rinse. Repeat.

For those who wake with wonder, with no certainty on how the day will evolve, there are possibilities… Find an idea, a goal, and take it to completion.

Build. Create. It is in these people to find not only admiration but inspiration.

Even when the inevitable day arrives where everything turns sour, there is truth in the old cliché: in every failure there are lessons to be learned.

This morning a thousand miles away from home, the surrounding scene holds a myriad of options, a feeling I’ve become accustom to. While I am never quite sure how the day will shine, there is one constant: good people blending with good people no matter the culture.

Open the mind to this simple piece of humanity and a better day lies ahead. Another piece of the riddle solved.

The feel of the earth, of steel, of the flame, all pieces of the puzzle when fused together form the backbone of who we are. Seeking an honest day’s work and the building of callouses, whether on the hands or character. Valuable protection justly earned when the inevitable turbulence of life makes its appearance.

On days like today, it seems easy. Hard work and dedication creates a good life. An effortless understanding where wealth is not the primary driver but instead a by-product, holding less value than imagined. Success is not defined by “greatness and wealth” instead it is about integrity. Dedication.

The experience of blood, sweat and tears reveals its importance when the world is thrown out of sync and stress converges from all angles. The world feels colorless.

However, the years of inexhaustible toil strengthens character, builds patience and when such dark and grey days come there is no panic. The mind is focused on living, on a new day to create.

The fire to define a day is what hard work ensures. Take away the unimaginativeness of mediocrity and the dullness transforms into a mysterious shimmer. Dark shadows of frustration are replaced by the spark of a purpose.

Growing. Building. Never resting, never stagnating.

There is no better feeling than walking home after a day’s work, warm sunlight refreshing the spirit and the colors shining on a day well executed. The fading daylight brings the laughter and smiles of the world to the forefront, enlightening the soul as it winds down into the solitude of night.

Within the darkness of sleep, a strong heartbeat keeps the blood flowing providing fuel for the dreams of the night and hopes of tomorrow. A step ahead are those who ceaselessly give it their all, for them tomorrow has already arrived.

Side note:  At a young age, my parents instilled in me the idea of doing the best work possible, no matter the job.  Every day my mom’s words echo in my mind ~ step back, take a look at your work and see if there is anything to be improved… and there is always something. I love this thought as it keeps me pursuing this myth of perfection.

150 Comments on “Hard Work and the Good Life

  1. Dear Randall,
    what a great philosophy expressed in a beautiful text with interesting pictures. That’s perfect how text and pictures complement each other. We like the polarity of the text as well as it creates a gripping tension that’s reflected in the pictures too.
    We immediately feel this tension as well: is the text idealising the quite often alienated work in our society or is it wise? We are so privileged to be able to decide that it’s wise 😉
    Thank you very to making us think
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Being able to enjoy a day of work versus the opposite is something fortunate – I am grateful for this in my life. I think it helps when others around also share the same feeling. Thank you all for the thoughts, and I know the Fab Four of Cley will be off having a great weekend 🙂 Cheers 🍻

      • … and we are having another holiday starting on Monday. We will go to Rye which is supposed to be the most romantic as well as haunted towns in England.
        Have a GREAT time
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. Ah! Randal…the riddle is solved!! Thanks so much for making sure you can never improve your work more!
    Sweet Blessings!

  3. Great post as usual, Randal. I agree wholeheartedly about your points about work and dedication, especially the importance of taking your job seriously no matter what it is.

  4. A wonderful insight into daily life. It looks like you’re making the most of your time in the Czech Republic. I wish I’d had more time to explore there as you are doing.

  5. Your mum had powerful words. It’s a strange sensation reading this at a turning point in my life. As you know I have moved far away, and after a couple of years of solely dedicating myself to my beautiful daughter, I’m not trying hard to find a job in my new place. Somedays I have to admit I feel down. I have so much to give, so much knowledge, experience, ideas, energy… I just hope someone will realise one day and give me the chance to put in a hard days work everyday. I hope you’re doing well!

  6. What a beautiful ode to hard work Randall. I cannot imagine life with not enough work to keep me occupied even if I am privileged enough to not need it. These workers you have featured are the salt of this earth and we can never appreciate them enough. There are so many. many here in India who have no other option. Happy Holidays my friend!

  7. Apart from that gorgeous opening photo, I love this post for the spotlight on all the things I value. I just read an article by a professor who’s studied the intellectual capital of blue collar workers. He argued that the merit to the service jobs we ascribe of the lower social class lies not just in the hard work of the people but the unsung, devalued intellectual demands they answer in their job.

    Wishing you continued success in your own work of beauty, R, and a prosperous new year.

  8. Just catching up with you again dear Randall as I do my rounds of greetings for sending well wishes for 2020 my friend.. Have a wonderful year, May your travels take you to some amazing views.. and may you meet some amazing people along the way..
    Have a very Happy, Healthy, Peaceful 2020 and way beyond Randall..
    Take care.. much love…
    Sue 🙂

  9. A new year wish full of days full of joy with happiness for you,
    and many blessings from above in everything you do.

  10. It’s always good to return to you blog, Randall, and usually to much times passes between each visit. But then at least your post is always somewhat back in time. 🙂 Anyway, I love this “story” about work and life. You words touches me – as does the photos. They have a personal and captivating expression. Simply beautiful.

  11. As usual, your words
    Are things to ponder

    Anyway, one thing I like about myths—no matter how unrealistic, is

    They often help us
    Collecting little pieces of the puzzle

    To give some good idea
    Of the big picture 🍸

  12. Thank you for this. I also wish for such feeling, such sense — to look forward to each new workday with vibrant enthusiasm and to end it with the satisfaction of a well-spent day. Yesterday, I watched a documentary on the Amish life and your post echoes the awe I felt with how they live their lives with humility, integrity and dedication to hard work. I especially like your line, “…hands crafting together a life of quality to stand the test of time.”

  13. Reblogged this on poetry, photos and musings oh my! and commented:
    Randall is one of my favorite bloggers. There is always beauty, inspiration, and each post filled with life. If you are not familiar with his work, give yourself a gift that is only a click away.

      • Randall, thank you. Your posts are always a treat. Enjoy the colors of autumn.

  14. I really liked the contrast in pictures: the working pics, pics w traditional dress, and the couple. Your post makes me want to walk the Brooklyn waterfront again. I was having a meltdown one weekend when our trains were so messed up w had to cancel out Manhattan plans. Sorry, I sound spoiled but it’s hard to not feel like I need out. When I feel trapped I get really weird. I’ve never stayed in Brooklyn so long. I have friends that never leave the neighborhood and have no idea how they do it. It’s not really socializing I’m craving (can be anti social by nature), it’s different scenery, energy, and different people. We walked from Bay Ridge to Sunset Park along the water. It’s one of the industrial areas we have left and it’s a great find. They’ll eventually spruce up the waterfront so we’re going to enjoy it as much as we can while its not as developed.
    Stay safe and healthy!

    • Thank you, and agree, it is the small pieces of culture you find in any neighborhood/village/country that can bring a smile. Such diversity out there – although I agree that this year has been one where everyone is feeling a bit trapped by the current situation. Continue exploring safely 🙂

    • This photo was my favorite as well – great contrast in lighting, and also in mood. Thank you, Gilles, and wish you a good weekend ahead.

  15. Your photography is so unique and refreshing. I aspire to be able to do this one day, but am only blocked by not being able to buy a mirrorless camera. I also need to realize that I can still take artistic photography with my phone and old Canon DS.

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