Being in business is a roller coaster ride–the rushes make you want to ride again and again–but the monotonous two hour lines make you wish you were anywhere else. The ups make us want to live for the business, to define ourselves by our business, to tell everyone we meet about our business. The lows make us think there has to be a better line of work, maybe trash collecting or bail bondsmen.
We gravitate from counting our job as a necessary evil, to feeling like this was the reason we were born. Sometimes we want a month long vacation, and other times we find ourselves up late at the office so engaged we lost track of time.
If you’ve been in business for very long you’ve felt both impulses.
What I wish I knew about business motivation I ended up learning from an unusual source. And it was not in the business or self help sections of Barnes and Noble. It can only be found in the religion section. My business motivation was transformed by one of the least read books of the Old Testament. The book of Ecclesiastes. The whole point of this short book is, “what’s the point of all our toil under the sun?”
Now I warn you, if you read this book too quickly you’ll miss the amazing truths it contains. It might even seem discouraging at first. But that’s just because, in order to wire up our motivation properly, we first have to be cured of our disordered ambitions. This ancient book is full of time tested wisdom, and I enjoy helping other business owners discover the treasures it contains. Learning from old Qoheleth, as the author of Ecclesiastes is called, can plant us much more firmly in the ground and get our heads on straight as we go to work day after day, year after year.