Everyone tries their best, and that is a good thing. Being the best we can be is noble, healthy, and inspiring. If everyone tried their best there would be a lot less disappointment. If everyone understood that trying their best is good enough, there would be less misery, but they don’t. Instead there are a lot of face rubbing, hair pulling high achievers who believe ‘my best is not good enough.’ I was one of them.
We are the sort of people who will go the extra mile to get the job done; we are the types of people who will not rest or take a break until the task at hand is complete; we are passionate people who get lost in the undertaking. Once we set out minds to do something we become very stubborn and adamant and don’t feel satisfaction until we see a finish line. Does this sound like you? This means you are hardworking, passionate, and have ownership qualities. What tipped me off that I was an unhealthy high achiever were my sleepless nights all throughout school, then my inability to take a break at work to eat, and my irritation when my concentration was disturbed when I was working, studying, or doing something else that I sought to outperform myself in. I am still struggling with this, but I am better. What has helped me is the following: meditation (if you are unfamiliar with meditation sit quietly, in a quiet corner and close your eyes. If you can visualize great if not quiet your thoughts and focus on your breath), socializing, and the realization that I won’t always make or break the outcome.
Understanding that your contribution while important does not outweigh the importance of YOU, is the most important piece of self realization. I had a very difficult time understanding this; at my first community service job employees whispered to each other wondering if I worked there as the physical labor I was performing was so sincere and at my most recent corporate job I worked endless hours, concentrated more on my work output than my food intake, and made myself available at all times. While this workaholism leads to certain gains it definitely has drawbacks. The gains are: it teaches ownership, it can lead to promotion, it enhances passion and Flow, it keeps your mind on its toes, and it increases the size of your skill bank. I experienced all of these benefits while I worked, but when it came time to take leave I realized that for more than half a decade I was conveniently hiding behind the workload I began to love in order not to live life.
So while working is important, whether you’re an employer or employee, have a startup business or a multi-million dollar company, or have a stake in the company or just work there, your contribution will always be that: yours. If you are not well enough to contribute what will your contribution be? Whether you are a Bill Gates, an Albert Einstein, a Steve Jobs, or an average Alma Chopra and your contribution can change the world, make you richer, or make things go a little faster, it will all be negligible if your health is not up to par. Like everything there is a balance that must be maintained.
Read Trying Harder Then We Should II! Trying Harder than We Should…for the Wrong Reasons