The Grind

‘The Grind’ is an important and arguably inevitable aspect of life. People have varying definitions of the grind. Following a forum regarding the grind this past Sunday, a group of my peers and I came up with the following working definition for the grind: “the devotion one’s of time and energy towards self-actualization”. Based on this definition, the grind is a means of getting you where you want to be.

There are two important sub categories of the grind: impassioned and concerted. The impassioned grind can be an end in itself. It is working hard on something that we genuinely enjoy. Very few of us are lucky enough to be regularly engaging in the impassioned grind. Rather, much of the grind is the concerted grind. The concerted grind involves the devotion of time and energy towards a task solely for the end product. It can be unpleasant in the moment but is ultimately fulfilling. Ideally, I believe we should strike a balance between the impassioned and concerted grind. Too much concerted grind could lead to disengagement while the utter lack of it could stunt our growth. The specifics of this balance likely vary between individuals; however, some of both is likely the recipe for self-actualization.

Many argue that life itself requires balancing pleasure with the grind. This brings about the question of whether the impassioned grind can usurp the need for pleasure. Answering this question requires identifying where the boundary exists between pleasure and the impassioned grind. In spite of how much we may enjoy the impassioned grind, it is nonetheless working towards a specific end. Pleasure, on the other hand, is an end in itself. One could argue that the impassioned grind is a subcategory of pleasure, the opposing subcategory being fruitless pleasure. Like the concerted grind, fruitless pleasure is an inevitable part of life; however, should be avoided in excess. For these reasons, the impassioned grind is a great place to be.

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Now that I am somewhat out in the working world, a phrase I hear all the time is “work-life balance” and how important it is. It essentially means that besides work, people should allocate time for other things that they care about. However, ‘the impassioned grind’ throws somewhat of a wrench into this idea. If one loves their work, should they still concern themselves with a work-life balance?

With this post, I set out to argue that the impassioned grinder should not concern themselves with the work-life balance. However, my opinion was changed in the act of writing this post. No matter how important or pleasant one’s work is, it seems irresponsible to neglect everything besides work. “Life” is not simply time spent doing what you enjoy. Life often constitutes doing things you do not enjoy but that you should do anyways, like helping those in need, doing the dishes, or exercising. One cannot neglect these duties on the basis of only enjoying work. For this reason, a work-life balance is likely important even if one loves what they do. However, if one loves what they do, the balance may include a larger proportion of work compared to the average person. The key point here is that work is not inherently unpleasant and life is not inherently pleasant; man is likely not meant to solely engage in pleasantries.

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