In 1859, Charles Darwin published a book called ‘On the Origin of Species’. It detailed the Theory of Evolution, of which natural selection is core of the theory. In short, all organisms evolve and fit into the environment in which they are living in. The survival of the fittest does not necessarily mean the strongest in terms of strength or speed, but it is the survival of the species best suited to live in the environment, ie the one who adapted best to the environment.
Organisms have offsprings, and those which cannot survive in a particular environment die off, leaving behind those creatures which have traits suitable to live in that particular environment. These survivors mature and reproduce, passing down their genes. Over time, useless traits not necessary for the survival are discarded, while traits suitable to survive and thrive will grow stronger in the species.
Adaptation is one critical attribute for all organisms.
If we scale it down to our daily lives, we can see that our body works the same way too. If you work out frequently, your body will grow in strength and stamina as your body needs to keep up with the activities you are doing. If you stop working out, over time you will lose that stamina and strength, as your body discard these functions which are deemed unnecessary for your daily activities.
What else can your body discard? Your talents and your competency. Our bodies adapt not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally, in terms of resilience and any other aspect you can think of.
As a newbie fresh out into society, we know little about how the workplace is. We know little on what is the proper way to work and how to handle situations. As we work, we gain in experience and competency. That is why those who are experienced in certain sectors are valued, such as doctors. You may also have experience forgetting how to do certain things you were familiar with when you do not touch it for a certain period of time, the simplest example being a mathematical problem you used to solve without issues back in school. Calculus now, anyone?
The Chinese called it 躺平 (lie flat), and the West called it silent quitting. Whatever it is, it means the same. To give the bare minimum in your job just so that you do not get sacked. There is no pride in your job, no motivation and no professionalism. Quality of work is low, things get done too slowly and in short, the employee becomes a parasite of the organisation he is in. But as we do not work well, neither will our competency grow. Just like maturity does not come with age but comes with life experience, competency comes from regularly exercising your problem solving skills and work capabilities.
I am not saying that we should be 100% loyal to the company and give our all for the organisation, working day and night without expectations for rewards. I am saying that in whatever we do, we should be very clear of our objectives and direction. It is true there are nasty company bosses, companies which squeeze you and hang you out to dry, shameless companies without principles not worth for us to give our all. But we live for ourselves, not for the company.
Since we are have to work 8 hours a day, make use of it to develop yourself instead of wasting your time. By working what you are supposed to, you train your own capabilities over time. You learn new things and you gain from it, which I have mentioned before, so I will not repeat it here.
It is ok to treat your job as purely a transaction for the sake of exchanging time and labour for money. But after work you still have time which you can use in other areas. Even if you do not give your all at work, you should not carry that attitude in your personal life too. It does not matter if you do not want to chase after money. It can be a hobby such as drawing or writing, a money related passion such as researching in the stock market or even religion. As you live each day with a direction and a goal, giving your best in what you are interested in, you will grow as a person.
When you lie flat for too long, your talents and capabilities will be taken away from you.