The Compulsive Drive to Do – Part I

What is the difference between a pleasantly active life and one that is compulsively busy? Sometimes, it is a heart attack.

There is no doubt about it – we are a “can do” society. Sometimes though, “can do” becomes “must do,” and “must do” can have some unpleasant consequences. For one thing, people who “must do” things, as opposed to “wanting” to do them, often find ways to subconsciously sabotage themselves, just to take the pressure off. For another, they short-change their families and themselves.

When you are compulsive about how much you have to accomplish every day, you sacrifice spontaneity, creativity and the joy of everyday living. Your children grow up largely without you, and you can’t kid yourself into thinking that a few minutes of so-called quality time can make up for generally not being there at all. (Well, you “can” kid yourself, but you won’t be truly happy with the results.)

Compulsive doers also run the risk of actually reducing their productivity. Psychologists who specialize in stress management report compulsive doers make more mistakes and are more prone to physical illness. They are called “Type A” people, and we know that they make more mistakes and are more prone to heart attacks than the rest of us. We also know that stress-related accidents in the workplace are increasing at a dramatic rate. So, how do you break out of the programming that drives people to force themselves do too much?

Give this some thought this evening, and we will look at some solutions to this all-too-common problem tomorrow. In the meantime, for your heart and mind, enjoy the day!