As far as work goes, I’ve been pretty happy with my lot these last few years.
This is the eighth summer I’ve worked as a ranger in a national park in the north of Iceland, doing all kinds of maintenance work along with nature interpretation and education.
I’m privileged enough to get paid for spending part of my day every day in silent solitude, surrounded by magnificent nature.
However, like most people, there are things about my job that I’m not too thrilled about. Telling people off for breaking the strict rules of the park is one of those things.
Cleaning filthy, and I mean filthy (at least sometimes) dry toilets is another.
Most tourists are just regular people looking to experience something new, but every now and then you meet some real dick-heads. Dealing with those peeps is definitely on my list of things I dislike at work.
In years gone by, I would rush these chores off as quickly as I could, usually not paying much attention to the quality of my actions, and the consequences.
I would make sure the bathrooms at least looked clean, but I would cut corners wherever I could. I would make sure people ended up following the rules, without making sure that we parted on terms of mutual respect.
I’ve learned that the way I do anything is the way I do anything. If I do a shitty job cleaning toilets (poop-pun intended), I can be sure I will be more likely to lazily brush off something that is actually important to me.
If I deal with people brusquely when all that’s needed is a gentle reminder and a kind smile, I can be sure that the relationships I truly cherish will suffer for it.
Integrity is the name of the game.
If I’m going to do something, it deserves my full attention and devotion. No matter how unimportant it is to me, relatively speaking.
It’s a form of meta-practice. Practicing excellence in everything we do seems to be a pretty good way to go.