Approach Tasks with Interest

Excerpt from Attitudes and Habits, Alfred J. Parker

One should always approach one's tasks with interest, and with the thought that, "What is worth doing, is worth doing well." Mind is a funny thing and sometimes a creature of habits; i.e., it can fall into a pattern of thinking and of doing things. In some respects this is good, although not in all things. System and order is good, but if too much of it, it spoils imagination and creative thinking. Thus you see that mind can be very versatile and can change its attitude to certain tasks and to planes of thinking. There are some tasks that do not require much concentration, for instance, cleaning up, washing dishes, dusting, etc., and working with some machinery where the work is under your supervision. In this systematic work, your mind is free for thinking of other things, perhaps a little more pleasant.

Let us adjust our thinking to the tasks ahead of us and always approach them in a happy state; life is full of many things, and there are some things that we like to do better than others. So as to balance all things, and make all tasks easier, let us lump our tasks together— the happy and the monotonous ones—and imagine that we are painting a picture that requires many strokes of the brush to complete; any strokes left out would never allow the picture to be finished.

Life is like that picture; it is filled with many and varied experiences, and if we desire to continue to live, all experiences must be met with resolution and interest. Sometimes we can learn by doing the things we dislike doing. Not liking or liking things is merely a plane of mind in any case, a passing emotional thought or mood, just the way we feel.

If we desire to live a full and happy life, we must be ready to face any and all experiences with happy thoughts: taking the bad with the good and being happy in the living. There is another point of interest in attitude. How can we know just how good something could be, without the comparison with the bad? If everything we did was good, we would never know which was the best because there would be no comparison for measurement and distinction and then the best would be as monotonous as the worst, for there would be no variation. Variation is the spice of life, through which we learn to be ready for all contingencies; i.e., we must always learn to master our situations.

We can always succeed in our tasks if we approach them upon a relaxed and happy plane of mind. Have you noticed how when you are in a bad mood things do not go right? It is then that the most simple tasks seem impossible. Actually, when negative in your thinking, you are subconsciously telling yourself that you cannot and will not do it, and then you become belligerent and look for an argument. One can never accomplish under these mental conditions.

Life is a very hard taskmaster; therefore, each little child should be schooled to meet tests in life—situations that require patience, perseverence, and concentration.


Thought for the Day