I need to keep busy and often. If I have too much time on my hands, then I feel like something is wrong and my day feels wasted. For many of us, what we don’t realize is that we’re filled with distractions, ones that can mostly be blamed on ourselves. We usually create distractions for ourselves because often times it’s better than facing what the silence might reveal to us.
For a very long time I needed to keep so busy that working 65-75 hours a week was not only tolerable, but eventually became the norm and the only thing that made me feel satisfied. Once you set a really high bar for yourself and you’re able to somewhat clear it, then nothing below this extraordinarily high standard computes to success. Why is it wrong to have out-of-this-world, ridiculous standards for yourself? Because it not only affects you, it becomes the standard you place on everyone else. It’s not always obvious that you are actually projecting your impossible standards on others because you’re doing so subconsciously. If you’re reflective enough you might catch yourself doing it, or if your fortunate enough a good friend will pull you aside to explain what you can’t see.
The hours you choose to work, the way you might expect perfection from your partner or love interest, the products you buy, the services you receive, how co-workers or those you manage perform, and especially what you demand out of yourself — all of these have one thing in common: Absurdly unrealistic expectations. If you boast of your perfectionists ways, your competitive edge and your need for high standards in all areas of life then be careful when calling these qualities “good” or even “healthy.” It’s not about swinging to the extreme only to welcome slothful behavior, lazy work and personal habits. You don’t have to lower your standards to the point of dating the first woman or man who comes along willing to give you an ounce of attention.
It’s striking that balance we can all benefit from, regardless of how harmonious of a life you might think you already live. If you think you’ve already learned everything there is to know then wake up! You obviously aren’t being honest with yourself and you may need to come to terms with the fact that your ego is getting in the way of a real growth opportunity for you. Some people don’t wish to grow because they truly think they know everything. But, in reality everyone, regardless if they are a genius or a billionaire, has room left for learning and growth. And if your things define you then you need to do some real soul-searching because you are not your things. We are not our assets and how much or little we have in our bank accounts does not define us. The true nature of a man isn’t quantified by what he has gained. Otherwise, you’re left with a never-ending pit, a black hole in the soul that can’t be filled because no amount that you possess can give you that feeling of contentment.
The Bottom Line
If you find joy in doing, then you’ll always have to be doing something. You’ll always have to find yourself in the middle of the action because the opposite, in your mind, will be that you’re not truly living. Once you pull away from your high standards and expectations, you’ll notice that there is a lot of space to simply be. And there’s a lot of people out there, myself included, who feel it’s frivolous to be because I’d rather be doing. Being feels like you’re not doing enough, but you’ll be surprised at how much you are truly achieving in the simple act of being.
It’s much better to be and find joy in giving, rather than the hundreds and thousands of hours worked to earn and gain. You can try to convince yourself that having high standards makes you successful, but it’s an illusion. No one can constantly measure up to those standards. One day, you fall short or someone else will, and all you’ll be is disappointed as your reason for living and your level of happiness comes crumbling. It’s best not to rely on high expectations when you can find satisfaction, contentment and joy in just being.