I used to think about diligence exclusively in a “work” context — working hard in school, going the extra mile at a job. Over quarantine, I had time to re-conceptualize my relationship with “work” and broaden my definition of diligence. It started with small tasks: doing yoga, trying my hand at painting, picking up piano again. I realized that this concept of diligence, of working hard, also encompasses perseverance and resilience; and there is not one area that it cannot be applied to. Even the activities that I considered hobbies required their amount of diligence. I can’t learn a piece on the piano without practicing at least once a day and an intrinsic part of this sort of consistency is being able to overcome frustration and boredom. I realized that it was not enough to merely work hard some days, burn out, and not work other days — bouncing around between these two extremes, and never exploring that middle ground was impeding my sense of the quotidian. It finally clicked for me that diligence, to me, implies routine and most importantly adaptability. Hard work does not need to be monotonous, but diligence is inextricable from persistence and mental fortitude. To that end, I also realized that I needed to put into place a series of self care processes that would make me ready and energized for that day — being kind to myself translated to a greater willingness to discover more. I’m grateful for the time quarantine afforded me to introspect and think critically about habits and relationships that I developed with this notion of diligence. I’m still working to fully incorporate my newfound conception of diligence into my life but I’m left wondering if these times have changed anyone else’s relationship with work and diligence. We would love to hear your responses!

– Bella Yang, Intern, Life Vest Inside