Forget the Funk, Not the Fun
If there was an alcoholic's anonymous equivalent for obsessively success driven people, I would probably require a lifetime membership. To be fair to myself, I wasn't always that way. Growing up I was far more focused on varsity sports,video games, and going fishing with my brother at the local farms and along the side of the Mohawk River. It was a time where I allowed myself the time and space to play.
Then something happened. I got hooked on my first hit of the success rat race. I entered MIT as a freshman in the fall of 1999. It was exhilarating! I walked among nobel laureates and class mates already on their 2nd business startup. I was inspired and jealous at the same time; wanting to get my share of the action.
I didn't realize how badly I got addicted to success until recently... where I get into a funk when I compare myself to others who have really made a big splash. I allowed my self-image to create all of these ridiculously unrealistic expectations of where I should be relative to everyone else. This sort of thinking very rarely leads to happiness as there is always some other benchmark yet unachieved and thus some urge, some craving left unsatisfied.
Thankfully my wife has been supportive and a great sounding board. She knows that I'm being a bit silly with this and tells it to me directly. It's these verbal slaps (done in a caring way of course) that are waking me up to the fact that I've forgot how to truly let me self have fun in the moment. Do I have to give up chasing success. Heavens no! I don't think I could do that if I tried. But one doesn't have to give up ones sanity while pursuing a passion.
So I must remember to not give up the fun parts of life. For without them, I merely get into a major funk and then what's the point? My inner child craves to go fishing again... sitting on the banks of a pond, surrounded by still water and no expectations.
Photo of my wife and I courtesy of Joe Jack photography.
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About Rick Manelius
Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.