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  • Writer's pictureDena Lampert

The Power of a Positive Work Ethic

Most of us spend upwards of 8 hours a day doing some kind of work. And while it’s essential in the world we live in, it’s hard - that’s why it’s called work. Often when something is difficult, we try to avoid it if possible. We daydream about vacations, weekends, retirement, or winning the lottery, all in the hopes of escaping the daily grind. But the reality is that work is a necessary part of life, and avoiding it only makes it harder and less enjoyable in the long term. Having a positive work ethic can be the key to finding more joy in work.


One of the main reasons why many of us struggle with work is because we try to avoid or procrastinate when it comes to difficult tasks. We might think that putting off a difficult project or task will make it easier in the long run, but in reality, it only creates more stress and anxiety.


Accepting Hard Work


It might seem counterintuitive that doing difficult tasks can actually give us more energy and motivation to tackle future difficult tasks, but there are several reasons why this is true. Firstly, when we avoid hard tasks, we often carry a sense of guilt that can weigh us down and drain our energy. We might worry about the consequences of not completing the task, or feel that we are not living up to our potential. By accepting hard tasks and taking action towards completing them, we can alleviate this sense of guilt and free up mental space and energy for other tasks.


Secondly, completing hard tasks can give us a sense of accomplishment and confidence that can carry over to other areas of our work and personal lives. When we overcome a difficult challenge, we feel a sense of pride and joy that can boost our self-esteem and motivation.


Finally, when we accept hard tasks and approach them with a positive mindset, we are more likely to be engaged and focused, leading to greater productivity. We might find that the task is not as difficult as we initially thought, or that we are able to find creative solutions to the problem which can be motivating and make us more likely to tackle difficult tasks in the future.


Building Tools for Acceptance


Accepting hard work can be a challenge, especially if we are used to avoiding difficult tasks or have negative beliefs about our ability to handle them. However, there are several strategies that can help us build a more accepting mindset toward hard work:

  • Challenge negative thoughts: Often our resistance to hard work stems from negative beliefs we hold about ourselves or the task at hand. For example, we might think, "I'm not good enough to do this," or "This task is impossible." By challenging these thoughts and replacing them with more positive beliefs, we can begin to shift our mindset toward acceptance.

  • Break the task into smaller steps: Big, daunting tasks can feel overwhelming, making us more likely to avoid them. By breaking the task down into smaller, more manageable steps, we can make the task feel less daunting and build momentum toward completion.

  • Practice self-compassion: It's important to remember that we are all human, and it's okay to struggle with hard tasks. By practicing self-compassion and acknowledging our efforts and progress, even if they are small, we can build a more positive and accepting mindset toward hard work.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of psychotherapy that aims to help individuals build psychological flexibility and develop a more positive relationship with their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. ACT can be a powerful tool for building a positive work ethic, as it can help individuals overcome the barriers that prevent them from taking action toward their goals and values.


One of the key principles of ACT is acceptance, which involves acknowledging and making room for difficult thoughts and feelings, rather than trying to avoid or suppress them. When it comes to work, this means accepting the fact that work can be challenging and difficult at times, and that it is natural to experience stress, frustration, and other negative emotions in response to these challenges. By accepting these difficult thoughts and feelings, ACT helps people to build a more positive and accepting relationship with work, rather than feeling overwhelmed or defeated by it.


The Power of a Positive Work Ethic


Having a positive work ethic means approaching work with a sense of purpose and enthusiasm. It means recognizing the importance of hard work and taking ownership of our tasks and responsibilities. The benefits of a positive work ethic are many, including increased productivity, better job satisfaction, and improved mental health. A positive work ethic can help us to build greater resilience and cope better with stress, leading to improved mental health and well-being.


Accepting hard work and cultivating a positive work ethic might seem daunting at first, but there are so many benefits. By reframing our mindset and focusing on the opportunities for growth and learning that work provides, we can achieve greater success and happiness in all areas of life. If you are interested in finding out more about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or need some help in developing a positive work ethic, reach out and one of our qualified therapists will be happy to help.

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