Working Hard or Hardly Working?

“Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it.”

~ Arabic Proverb

If you’ve been following the series in its entirety you’ve read the quote above previously… but it bears repeating. We’ve taken a long journey to get to where we are; and it’s going to take courage to complete it… for few ever will.

There’s a major difference between knowing about the path

 and walking the path

In a society that has literally sold its soul for a little bread and circus; and a little false security; you’ve been conditioned from every direction and every single angle to comply. You’ve also most likely been frequently told what can’t be done.

Since you’ve been in grade school, you’ve been rewarded in relation to your compliance not your uniqueness. Ponder please ponder.

It takes a tremendous amount of energy to reach escape velocity. To break the chains that invisibly bind you from living your own life and walking your own path.

You were born into greatness…

But you’ve been conditioned into mediocrity.

There’s always a price for Greatness. Are you willing to pay it?

If this series has done anything (and assuming you’re at least a semi-contemplative person), it’s delineated, at least at a cursory level, the greatest story that’s ever been sold.

It’s a story of external saviors, and the promise of an easy life. It’s the story of read, remember, repeat; and follow me; and the easy rewards of plenty—if not now… at least in some “after-life.” At least as long as you buy-in, accept, comply, and often sellout on your dreams and your soul.

But you, like me, know (as they used to say in Oklahoma where I grew up), “That dog don’t hunt.”

“Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on I’ll be mad.”

~ Rumi

It’s hard to grab your Innate Ability and run with it. To roll the dice and gamble everything you have upon it. No doubt.

But it’s harder still to sell your soul day after day to the God’s and saviors of the easy, comfortable and secure… doing something miserable just for money and false security. The cost of such a decision is your life.

So what have you decided?

What will you decide going forward?

Let’s regroup on our IAD principles before delving into the last one (yes we’re actually at the last principle):

  • Principles must precede practices. This distinction gives you both potential wisdom and understanding.
  • The only true power is a functional and integrated whole. Mastery is the synthesis of both Spirit and Form; Divinity and Humanity.
  • Life is all there is; and death is illusion. All is energy and energy can never be created or destroyed. It only changes form.
  • Purpose and Meaning are everything. They are Life Itself. The whole of life is purposeful and meaningful.
  • Fundamental Creativity is the very core of both consciousness and spirit. The Creator to even be a creator must create. All things are a reflection of the One Thing.
  • Know your Innate Abilities and utilize them to fulfill your unique purpose in the world. Your purpose tells you why you’re here and your Innate Ability tells you how you’ll fulfill that purpose.

Principle Number Seven: There is no magic in life but life is magical

This should come as no surprise to you because we’ve danced with this truth many times over throughout this series as well as in the Life versus Fantasy series; and the Alchemy series.

Repetition is the second law of learning and transformation

Principle seven reminds us is that life is often a tough task master and yet when we awaken we’re enlightened and enlivened with the realization that even in our darkest hour, and our most turbulent times, there’s still potential for a tacit joy.

When you truly begin to live you work hard but it’s hardly work…

You move into a magical space of effortless effort

I can almost hear the minds of the romantics whirling as they search for their magical wands, pills, and secret sauce reading the statement above. Stop!

Read it again and notice that I stated you’re going to “work hard.” I said you will need to make an “effort”—lots of it! Be not fooled into fantasy.

But it’s hardly work and effortless because you’re going to be doing what you choose to do and what you love. Do you get this?

When you find your purpose the line between work and play blur.

What others call work is not work… it’s your love and joy.

Working on “your work” is not work… it’s your purpose. Big difference. And if you’ve ever touched this state of being—even if but for a brief moment—you know exactly what I mean.

I believe a lack of understanding is one of the major downfalls with many teachers in personal and spiritual development who tell you, or imply, that you “don’t have to work,” or that you “don’t have to do anything.”

It creates great confusion.

Yet, even a cursory study of these individuals, even the strongest advocates of it, will quickly prove that they’re often living their entire life on the road!

Even those who espouse the most spiritual/mystical teachings, those who say money can be made fast and easy, even those lacking much practicality… are doing radio shows, interviews, writing books long into the night, some have a permanent seat on a certain airline, and others live their entire lives in a motor home traveling from event to event.

It’s important to understand that these people are not “lying” to you per se (most of them). Yes, there are some who sell you the fantasy and dream for their own personal reasons… but some just don’t feel like their working because they’re doing what they love. Do you follow?

In my experience, this is how life should be lived. And this is a life well lived.

I recall when I was a management trainer for the AT&T School of Business… I worked my tail feathers off. While others came in at 8:30 or 9:00 AM I got up at 4:00 AM and beat the traffic to arrive in my office no later than 6:00 AM. Six days a week! (reference Habits of the World’s Most Wealthy)

These early hours allowed me (being on the East Coast at the time) to get my day in order and my paperwork done so that by the time the West Coast clients rolled in at 8-9 AM PST I could potentially grab them on the phone before they got distracted.

I was also most often the last one to leave the office many a late night; and almost always the only one in a barren and quiet office on weekends (the best time ever to be productive). Yes, I worked Saturday’s… even though I was the only one. And it wasn’t required. I required it of myself!

And I often worked on holidays!


When you find what you love you don’t need a day off, a vacation, or find yourself longing for the weekends…

This is the mindset of those existing versus truly living. 

You’re doing what you love!


I absolutely loved my job! And all the while I knew it was the ground work for greater things that I had planned in my future.

Are you thinking? Are you paying attention?

And the journey continues….

Stay Awake, Love Life and Be Epic,

james arthur ray



Permission to re-post my personal articles is granted with acknowledgment of the author, James Arthur Ray and a link back to this website. Thanks and Enjoy!

13 Responses

  1. Another great blog!! But I do confess I’m a bit scared to respond today (after last week) 😀 But then again we both (all?) know I am a romantic fool, and a glutton for punishment, so here I go. I read it several times, so as not to miss anything this time. And I’ll read it again, as it is so full of wisdom, wisdom I know benefits me. I can’t speak for others, but to me it rings true. Every word.

    There are so many relevant quotes here. I’d love to re-post them all. Of course I can’t, as I won’t take the time or space. Very interestingly, I came across the Rumi quote in my own studies recently. “Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on I’ll be mad.”~ Rumi Yes…This rings true for me.

    Also intriguingly, you (JAR) seem to be answering the question I (tried to) posted on Twitter last night. (I’m new to Twitter, but I wanted to ask a question on “Ask James anything live..” I can’t seem to figure Twitter out (C game lol), but I’m trying. Anyway, the question was:

    “Why, if life is meant to be truly lived. are so few actually living?” (LR)

    And so, today comes the answer: It’s been conditioned out of us – even from before we were born, listening from the womb: “You were born into greatness…But you’ve been conditioned into mediocrity.”(JAR)

    Hm….I suppose that everyone is so caught up in “being happy and comfortable” that they have forgotten that above and beyond all, life should have meaning. And purpose. I’ve always loved that word – Purpose. Our “work” as you said, JAR, is NOT what we do for a paycheck. It’s what we do in the early morning hours and the in between times, when we could be sitting back “relaxing.” or sleeping. It’s what we think about, what we keep coming back to – because we are COMPELLED to. It’s what we do regardless of the nay sayers – even if it takes us twenty years or more. Even if it makes no sense to anyone but us. Even if it doesn’t make sense to us. Even if it scares us silly. Because we HAVE to do it. Because it’s our WORK! Not our dharma, maybe, but our true work. Maybe there’s a difference. I picked up a deck of cards when I was 13, and never put it down. The same thing with the pen. But I guess I was doing it without owning it as my life’s work. It was just a part of me. It was what I did. What I do…. I didn’t know it was my work – until recently.

    Yes, “There’s a major difference between knowing about the path
    and walking the path.”(JAR) I have said that I am beginning to OWN my purpose now. Where before I could see it, I couldn’t seem to keep it firmly in hand. I knew what my purpose was, but I suppose I was so caught up in the dharma of it all, the frustration of the daily grind, that I was not walking where I should. I was sidestepping my own destiny.

    I am so very good at giving others advice (maybe because it comes from the Source), but I’m not always good at listening to my own advice. I guess that’s what you’re here for James. lol

    I do love fantasy. I do love romance, although it’s been laying dormant in me for many years. I do so love magical things! I guess I’m guilty of all these…. But I am a woman after all, and a Mother, and my children have awakened all these things in me as well. I’ll always love Harry Potter and Spiderwick, and the Wizard of OX, all kinds of fantastical things. It’s a wonderful, beautiful world! Why not explore it? It’s good to be open! It’s good to explore! But then there is reality. Always back to reality. What is reality any way?

    I am also a Capricorn, very practical, very steadfast. Very meticulous. I mean, I taught SAT Prep, Remedial Writing, and Study Skills for many years. I LOVE TO REVISE! I try to tell my students that revision is half the fun! They don’t always get that. They think it’s work. Ah.. but there we are – back to it again. Work. I find it exciting!

    So, two sides to every coin right? I know I for one am complicated and an oxymoron. How about you?

    But… whether I am a fool or not – we’ve established I am – in more ways than anyone here knows, right James? 😀 …Whether I am a fool or not, I am on the path now. And I am trying. And living. And growing. And expanding all the time. Not only am I knowing and living my purpose, but my life has changed, and will continue to change in so many ways, in every way really. Even down to giving up coffee. I didn’t really “decide” to give it up – my body just told me no more. That was before I came across what you said about it, JAR. Interesting. With so many things…no more! Does that mean I’ll never drink coffee again, or have a piece of chocolate, or a beer or glass of wine? No… But it’s a whole different ball game. Everything has changed!

    And now my passions have risen to the surface and are bubbling over, like a volcano erupting. In so many ways. In every way. And you can’t stop the lava flow once it has begun, or make it flow backwards, or back in. You just can’t. And now I can do my work. And I will do my work – am doing my work. And I should go do that.

    But one more thing. You know how grateful I am James, for your teachings, and for you. And you know I pass what I learn on to others through my own work. And… I did ask you in the beginning, to wake me up if ever I fell back to sleep. And I did mean that, no matter how it might feel at the time. And I still mean it. I meant everything. And I wouldn’t hesitate to wake you either, if need be. But I’m pretty sure your’e wide awake and very busy waking others up too! So keep doing what you do James. I for one am grateful for it. And I know many others are too.

    “Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it.”
    ~ Arabic Proverb

  2. Loved it James! Thank you.

    I believe that is an even faster way to find out what our innate ability is: Just find out what you love and enjoy to do and there it is.

    I think the hardest part is to go against the crowd, to have to “explain” and “justify” our decision to our family and friends, they think they are saying thing for our own good, but they just have one part of the picture.

    Being true to ourselves is hard, but it’s worthy.

    But then, those who are telling us their version of things, who are manipulating the truth to their convenience but they love what they are doing. Is that their true mission? If they are doing what they love and are enjoying their life, even if they are changing the facts and make us believe things the wrong way, but having the success they wanted. Is that their real mission? They are following that path, because that is what they are supposed to do?



  3. The bookend to Rumi’s quote is,

    To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. – e. e. cummings

    e. e. loved being a poet. Love doing what you do is priceless. Thank you James!

  4. I agree with this but right now I don’t make any money becuse I am not skilled enough so I am working a job I like but don’t love as much as what I really love but doesn’t make any money. What should I do?

    1. Ethan, not to despair. This is common. Next weeks blog addresses this head on. Stay tuned my friend and in the meantime get REALLY clear on what your Innate Abilities are and what you choose to do with them. Live Big my friend and Love Life! ~ JAR

  5. James, Thank you in advance for you input and much gratitude for all you contribute to the awareness and betterment of the world.
    I read your post every week and have found many nuggets of gold. All of it address creating your life, living your purpose etc. But what if one has done their best and feels as if life just keeps knocking them down, one stressful situation after another and is now living in burn out? I know you can answer this after the immense struggles and stress you went through. How did you come back after losing faith, lacking energy, etc (I’m assuming you were at that point). Its so easy to give up on dreams, purpose and joy when the pathway seems to be blocked every step of the way. ~ JMK

    1. JMK, I’ve been right there my friend, you are correct. I was even angry at God and felt totally despondent and disgusted with my life. I recall one morning telling my girlfriend “My entire life has been bullshit. One big complete joke!” No matter how hard she attempted to talk me out of it and reassure me, I wasn’t buying or listening. To say I was in a dark dark place is the understatement of the century. I questioned every single thing I’d ever believed and every single thing I’d ever taught. And now I realize this was a powerful and profoundly transformative experience. Only when you get completely swabbed out, left with no ground to stand on and nothing to believe or hold onto do you finally come to an awakening that cannot be found any other way. I can’t make it easy JMK. It’s not supposed to be easy. But it is, and will be, meaningful… this I know. Stay the course and let go to live. I”m still putting the pieces back together… but this time loosely. Humpty Dumpty can never be put back together again without cracks, scars, and chips. Right now I’m held together with tape. But this looseness is actually a powerful place to be. Something to ponder. Thanks for being here. Hope this helps in some small way. ~ JAR

  6. Great Work! The one thing that really confounds me on my journey is that I want to take “my work” to the next level and make a living around it, but I still have the physical effects of my injury and this hinders me in realizing the possibility. I have great gifts to share and I currently do ( by speaking and volunteering as a mentor/coach at the rehab I recovered at.) but make little funds to live free.

    James, considering my predicament what insights do you have that can assist me in expressing my greatness while living a life of financial freedom and wholeness?

    Your bro,


    1. Hey Peter (my bro–like that) Check out my friend Sean Stephenson. I mentored him in the early years before he had done anything. Very few believed in him but I saw the greatness within him. He’s gone on to make a major impact in the world. You can do it you just have to persevere and be completely committed (and patient). Possibly broaden your message as Sean did. Not just for those with physical injuries but for ALL of us who ALL have injuries. Make sense? Live Big!

  7. James,
    How is the looseness a great place to be? My girlfriend left me with my daughter after years of her promising to marry me. This experience has made it difficult for me to trust people. I’m sure you felt the same way. My judge of character feels so flawed. Right now i’m at the state of mind where you told your girlfriend ,”that my life is a joke”. I miss my daughter. My job in retail is great but it’s been Iv’e had the same position in 4 years. I will soon find out if I will be a holiday supervisor working long hours and maybe less pay, Like you said there is a price for prize. I also wanted to ask you how do you force yourself to be in a better mood? I know you say don’t repress emotions since it will come out in worse ways but lately I just want to be alone this feeling of sadness won’t go away. Ive been on wellbutrin and klonopin for a year now and they help but I still feel like my life is going nowhere. Hard times. Love your blogs and video please never stop them because honestly they really are getting me through some dark times. Love the response you gave about how you thought your life was a joke and your still working on it. Also really would like you to talk more about visualization. I heard you talk about it on a radio show and it changed my life because my imagination is so strong that using my mind to visualize myself in a better place has changed my life.

    1. David, there’s a lot here. We all feel these ways from time to time (some more and longer than others) anyone who says they don’t is not being honest. You DONT “force yourself to be in a better mood.” That’s called suppression and denial and leads to pathology. My suggestion is that you allow yourself to feel what arises and you’ll notice it WILL pass. It takes courage to feel what you feel. The prescriptions don’t help my friend they only mask the problem. Get on my next webinar and it will be helpful. All the best. ~ JAR

  8. James,
    thanks for the advice. I had a feeling you would not approve of the prescription drugs but honestly I feel like a better person on them. I have more energy, less mood swings, and it helps me lose weight because of the crazy energy you feel. Before my anti-anxiety medication I was afraid to leave my house , have panic attacks driving and was not as productive at work. You still feel sadness and anxiety but it’s manageable. I don’t like the person I was before the medication. there is a DNA test you can get and it was discovered my brain is not very good at producing dopamine. I know you believe ADD is bullshit but my attention span is so much stronger than it has ever been before. It’s not like the movie Limitless with Bradley Cooper but my brain my memory and cognitive thinking has improved. Still I respect your opinion and feel bad that these medications is hurting my growth or maybe it’s a short cut to the person I want to be. Just took your advice and quit drinking soda. The coffee habit is still there. i give you lots of respect if you don’t drink coffee which I’m sure you don’t. thanks for the green salad advice. Feel so much healthier by eating greens and watching alkaline. Can’t even tell you how eating healthier changed my life. I’m afraid James though. Don’t won’t to go back to the old me if I quit or taper off my meds. wellbutrin also made it possible for me to remember my dreams way more vividly. By the way I used to smoke a pack a week and now the thought of smoking makes me sick because of wellbutrin. I think you become more aware of your dream state because you become aware of everything you focus on. Still love the work you do.
    Thanks for writing back and look forward to your blogs and utube videos. You got me fired up. Got me questioning everything. I guess your good at that. Take care my friend, Don’t want to start a debate on prescription drugs with you but will think deeply about what you wrote.


    1. David, I definitely don’t stand in judgement of your use of drugs. Sometimes we need assistance from an outside source, just as a mentor or a spiritual practice. All things are tools. As long as we’re aware that the tool is a tool, not the solution and at some point we need to move forward beyond the specific tool of the moment. If someone can’t function properly without assistance then I say use assistance until you no longer need assistance. This is a more lengthy discussion but just know that I honor you and your commitment to move forward. You’re getting there my friend. Live Big, Be Epic ~ JAR

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