On Working Very Hard

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I enjoy reading Zen stories, especially when I feel overwhelmed with too many tasks and deadlines. Here’s one of my favorites:

A martial arts student went to his teacher and said earnestly, “I am devoted to studying your martial system. How long will it take me to master it.”

The teacher’s reply was casual, “Ten years.”

Impatiently, the student answered, “But I want to master it faster than that. I will work very hard. I will practice everyday, ten or more hours a day if I have to. How long will it take then?”

The teacher thought for a moment. “20 years.”

Source: 10 Short Zen Stories


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2 responses to “On Working Very Hard

  1. Okay, you’ll have to enlighten me then on this, Joanne. Because I think, between my writing career and my day job, I’ve been working way too hard lately. What’s the answer?

    • Hi Claire, It’s easy to say cut back your hours and try to find more balance. During my teaching years, I found that advice almost impossible to follow. What did work? Occasionally playing hooky. I can now freely admit that I would plan a three-day weekend whenever I found myself overwhelmed with growing piles of assignments and tests, family commitments, and other stressors. Take care. 🙂

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