Work Smarter, Not Harder

I have never been particularly susceptible to manipulation by taunting and, like most who have passed through the teen years, I have had occasion to test that theory. For example, whatever competitiveness I have seems to be strictly confined to my performance relative to my potential rather than relative to others’ performance. I am, however, quite susceptible to my own unrealistic expectations.

Some months past I heard Paul Gilmartin mention an affirmation on his podcast, The Mental Illness Happy Hour:

I have enough.
I do enough.
I am enough.

I can think of no time when I have felt like I do enough. I am sure that the genesis of this kind of thinking comes from my childhood. For years I was fed the story that I was lazy and for many more years after that I believed it. A friend of mine recently called me on it, pointing to my work history as ample evidence of my industriousness. Even though I can now intellectually identify it as a limiting belief, I still find myself subconsciously responding to it. After all, I get up every weekday at oh-dark-thirty for physical training, weather be damned. Compulsion is such a strong word, but I often wonder.

Gilmartin’s show has been a boon for many reasons and that affirmation, which I have posted where I will see it every day, helps me reign the chargers of my busyness. I was raised in an environment which praised the “high energy” players, those who ran from drill to drill. Though I was told I was work-shy, I suspect my coworkers today would argue that the lesson worked only too well.

I can not claim that I am always going and doing, though. My ideal time-off is to stay home, read, watch movies, play games, and just relax. I am not such a beast as gets recharged by travel or exciting adventures. I have had enough adrenaline for a lifetime. Rather, when I endeavor to do something, I commit one hundred percent to it. (Mind you, not the illusory one hundred ten percent that my coaches always demanded…) It is very hard for me to half-ass something; I am a full-ass kind of fellow.

Yet I fully recognize that the optimal solution to many of life’s challenges is a balance of costs and benefits. For example, devoting oneself fully to one’s job mistreats one’s family. So each and every day is a balancing act and, much to my chagrin, the right answer for one day may not be the right answer for the next. My full-throttle, total-commitment approach is the optimal procedure for combat but markedly sub-optimal for almost everything else. I just need to stand down, even if only for a little while at the start.


One Response

  1. […] Recently I stated that I do not know what normal is. A friend disputed me, saying that I know normal but just never experienced it. With respect for his opinion, I most certainly have no experience with normal parenting and hazard that I do know even know what it is. As with most things, I endeavor to compensate for this lack with hard work. […]

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