Workaholic vs. Real success
“What is so terrible with being a workaholic?”, somebody protested to me the other day. The answer has disturbed some people and prompted many others to begin to re-evaluate their lives.
Workaholics are not people who have too much responsibility; they are really just people who have stopped taking responsibility for their life.
In one massive global company I worked at, being a workaholic was considered by HR to be a form of corporate neglect, placing others and the business at risk and in many cases it was treated as an offence.
What most workaholics forget is that they place everyone at risk; their family and the business and themselves. It is simply a lifestyle aberration. Firstly workaholics miss out on all the other good things in life. In effect they completely substitute play, fun and a happy fulfilled life for work? The biggest problem with workaholics is that they feel it is their duty and the right thing to do, and the business needs them and there are important people who rely on them. Blah-Blah-Blah, yeah right – its pure delusion sunshine!
Let us have a look at it this way:
- A workaholic will sacrifice their entire family for work. Betraying your family falls quite low down in the decent person scale.
- A workaholic will sacrifice health for a work deadline. Deciding that your work might require a bit self-harm or even suicide is stupid period! OK the dead bit ends it all, but it’s no less saddening to others than committing suicide.
We all agree that “man of the year”, “woman of the week”, big desk, big car, big house, big anything is good and you deserve everything you desire. It simply requires balance, because success is simply about being everything you can and want to be in ALL aspects of your life AND still ensuring you never sacrifice your life in favour of your work. Never delude yourself that your work is your life. Work is what you do to finance your LIFE.
In our experience workaholics hardly ever have a sense of higher purpose in relation to their job or even their life which where the real problem is hidden. Workaholics act as if they are driven by a higher purpose, but in reality every workaholic we have come across is unable to attribute a true meaning or purpose to their life, they struggle to talk about the meaning of their life let alone admit or own up to why they exist. It’s like saying, “I work 7 days a week, I know what I have to do, but I don’t know why.”
Imagine your friends or loved ones discovering that all your “success” is nothing but a cover-up while you figure out why you are running out of life?
“So what about those in the caring professions like doctors, nurses, aid workers, charitable workers, carers”, you might ask, “they devote their lives to caring for the sick, needy and poor, therefore they must surely have a higher purpose”? Not quite – in truth, the workaholics among them have been living in the most reckless fantasy of them all; they believe that how they do what they do is clearly righteous and in pursuit of the “greater good” and hence justifiable. In reality there is little to differentiate them from any other selfish, self important, righteous workaholic.
To overcompensate for a life that has little point, a workaholic will ensure they make themselves so incredibly busy and “manage” to become so booked up and unavailable that no-one, whether family, friend or spouse, are able to find enough quality time with them, for them to notice, what their life is all about.
Workaholics become so addicted to their selfish sense of self-importance, that they only get to consider what life and its true meaning is, after a heart attack, life threatening disease or some personal catastrophe, then suddenly they blast themselves back to the present, where (sic) they suddenly “discover” that they have missed out on so much in life.
How about successful people?
They probably don’t need to read this far!
Successful people also work hard, however in contrast they do things differently to the workaholic; to them it’s all about sharing the experience of life and consequently the load and the value and enjoying the rewards.
They explore life, they stimulate themselves to become deeply inquisitive about other people because they care and are naturally curious and they ask questions. They are observers and they are curious about what they explore and they invite others to share their journeys with them. They ask for help.
They inquire about things that they do not know enough about. They seek to understand life fully and take time out to learn about others. They make themselves and others feel comfortable skilfully and considerately, explaining their own positive purpose and objectives.
They expect candour and invite openness in their exchange of ideas and discussions. Often they will deliberately encourage disagreement in order to explore unthought-of of and unexplored avenues and uncover hidden agendas. In doing this they always manage to break through the biases, the “untouchable” subjects and the “holy cows”, the over sensitive egos or the “politically correct distortions”, in effect they part the “moo turd curtains” that often restrict open and candid discourse.
They get things done for them. They do not colonise all the work; they look intently at the sum of parts – they take a “what needs to be done and by whom, to make this work” approach. They engage family, colleagues and friends, they become engaged with people.
These “cool” superstars clearly have access to something special, a secret passed on by wise sages through the ages. To them, curiosity is a primary inoculation against self righteousness.
In order to unsubscribe from delusional fantasy they cultivate an unplugged curiosity mindset and ask questions of others. They constantly maintain a perspective that we call the “Unplugged Observer”. This curious skill is a well kept secret, it shows itself as a sense of anticipation, almost a kind of excitement, which in turn inspires discovery and exploration. Their fear response and negative emotions are kept in balance because in this secret state they are energized and curious. When others around them become aware of this excited and curious state they are naturally inclined to get drawn in, to participate. Therefore, they are naturally inclined to be inspired to succeed.
They have happier, exciting, fun filled, healthier lives. They also live longer.
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