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The Hard Work Cure

“I would have to work hard tomorrow. Work could cure almost anything, I believed then, and I believe it now.”
— Ernest Hemingway

Hard work is many things. We live in a complicated, fast world, surrounded by distractions. Getting down to work can be a way to free yourself of all things extraneous. It can be a stress reliever, a form of meditation. Conversely, it can be punishment for enjoying yourself too much the night before. Whatever the reason, hard work is tunnel vision. While you’re working, the only thing that exists is you and the light at the end.

The quote at the beginning of this article is from A Moveable Feast, a narrative account of Hemingway’s time as a poor young writer living in Paris. The book is filled with advice on living, on writing, and on the importance of discipline and hard work.  It also contains stories about his friends and contemporaries. But this quote in particular stuck with me — because I believe it, too.

When we embrace hard work, we find an immense release in it. At the end of the day and when work is over, the world returns and we are free to enjoy it. Now we can go where we please. Our feet feel light, our heads feel empty, our stomachs feel hungry. Another day of hard work has cured us of whatever burden we started the morning with.
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