Andy Grove famously said “only the paranoid survive.”
For the last couple of weeks, I have been writing about my own need to find some kind of balance in my life. This week I am going to argue against taking it easy.
I always look at the traits of successful people and one thing I notice in most of them is that they do not rest on their laurels. Sure, they take time off, they go have fun, they party. At some point or another, successful people get neurotic, want more, and nothing is enough.
There is no doubt that I get neurotic about my goals and sometimes I go too far. I get that. The fact is that I want to see so much in my lifetime and I accept that it is harder for me than most people. I don’t like it, but I accept it. With that being said, in order for me to succeed, I have to be neurotic. There are some things that are easier for me to do than most people, like writing this blog. I can have a blog post done in half an hour. Okay, enough bragging. On the other hand, there are some things that are ten times harder for me to do than most people, if not more. My morning routine is challenging. On a side note, I have trouble using the word “hard” because no matter how hard my life is, someone else always has it ten times harder.
A price of having high expectations is the certainty of getting hurt. It hurts every time I go on match.com and I don’t get email back, to the point where I have to shut off my computer at night so I don’t check my email every hour. When I was looking for a job out of college, it hurt to watch my friends settle into their new jobs. So the question is, why hurt myself?
There are parts of my life that are so beautiful. When I thought I couldn’t go to USC, I became neurotic and started obsessing about what it would be like to go there; finally I said ENOUGH. I started asking myself, “How can I go?” instead of “Why can’t I go?” I became neurotic. Furthermore, in 2004, I became neurotic over a girl and decided to go on match.com and as a result formed a year-long relationship. Those events were two of the greatest things that ever happened to me. If I accepted that life was life and things were how they were, I would not become neurotic. I agree that we all have the potential to be too neurotic and I am learning how to have better balance in my life. There are times when we need to take it easy and there are times when we have to work, and sometimes be totally neurotic.
The pursuit of success and ultimately happiness is an emotional gamble. The more you want to become successful, the higher the emotional stakes are. If you don’t want to gamble, then don’t. But I want to.
Don’t think that I am neurotic all the time. I have good times with friends and family. I ditch work every so often. In fact, last Halloween I was in Vegas and three nights in a row I called Kristi and told her that I was going to be staying an extra night. I do have good times. For me, being neurotic is just the cost of doing business. If you watch the great sports athletes, they are upset after a loss.
On Tuesday night, the Bulls were playing the Hawks and the Bulls were up significantly. The coach of the Bulls, Tom Thibodeau, did not like a call and he was arguing with the referee. He developed a habit of being neurotic or fighting for everything and it was automatic. He could easily let go and just sit there and say to himself, “We’ve got this game.” But no, he had to argue. Isn’t that better than the other way around?
I am the first one to admit that I sometimes go too far, and if you don’t believe me, just ask Kristi. After all, she’s probably the number one person who sees my neuroses every day.
I’m just a guy in a chair trying to live an extraordinary life.