Work is part of the way we evaluate ourselves.
It’s an essential symbol that confirms our place in the world.
And for many of us, it’s the primary medium through which we become a person.
It’s no surprise, then, that workaholism has become such a widespread phenomenon. Even though there is no generally accepted medical definition of this condition, it still affects millions of people around the world everyday.
Call it an addiction, a personality disorder, a disease, or just an everyday compulsion, it’s still very real and potential dangerous.
Did you know that most heart attacks happen in the morning on the first day of the workweek?
I’m reminded of an article on the workaholics anonymous homepage that I should have read in my twenties. It says that workaholics judge themselves solely by their accomplishments and hence have the illusion that they must always be in the process of achieving something worthwhile in order to feel good about themselves.
The thinking is, if we can just get a few more tasks done, then we can finally relax. If we can just keep climbing hard enough, we will finally get to an edge where we can lay down and enjoy the view.
Of course, when we arrive, the ledge is never big enough. We just climb up to the next one, four hundred feet higher.
In addiction parlance, we keep chasing the dragon. Because we’re too scared to stop. Too scared to give up the work for a moment and allow ourselves the space we might need. Too scared to confront the complicated emotions we don’t understand and risk losing control.
That’s the high ideal workaholics set for themselves. Our worth as a person seems to be hanging in the balance. If we’re not doing something, we’re failing ourselves and our family.
And that’s why we use work to cope with emotional discomfort and feelings of inadequacy and loneliness.
A futile grasping for salvation, it is.
Here’s the advice I would give my younger self.
Instead of continuing to pull a hundred rabbits out of the same hat, allow the world to spin forward without your shoulder to the wheel.
Instead of rationalizing your addiction by announcing that there are people in the world with less honorable motives, give yourself a break.
Instead of filling any space in time with work because you feel insecure doing nothing, trust that people who don’t know of your accomplishments will think you a good person for other reasons.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you surround yourself with a work moat to protect against the dangers of intimacy?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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