Journal entry- One for the ambitious melancholics

I do not claim to know myself well enough but I think that I have always been a borderline workaholic. Productivity and a constant sense of accomplishment is my high in life and something that keeps me driven.

However, one common misconception that people have about workaholics is that we love work so much that we never get tired of it. That is most certainly untrue. Let me elaborate the mindset of a workaholic for you. The constant need for gratification keeps us working upon something or another during most hours of the day. It is true for every form of addiction that the more you get, the more you need. Same goes for us. We become obsessive perfectionists who are never satisfied with themselves and are more often than not craving for authentication of our work from sources that are not ourselves. Needless to say, this does not end well most of the times. And yes, we are human after all and we do get tired, but we cannot stop ourselves because no one else can match the delusional standards of perfection that we have set for ourselves so we have to do it on our own. This is the part where most of us break down.

I realise this sounds like humble bragging. But this is what conspires within us over time as we get used to ‘working all the time’ for self satisfaction.

I do not say that being a workaholic is a bad thing. The sense of accomplishment that we get from completing things is something worth fighting for every day. Of course, as the addiction grows, we aim for bigger things in life and that’s not something motivational speakers and philosophers might complain about. But in retrospect I can’t help but wonder what happens of people who are not as intent in life as us. There are plenty of people who believe that working hard or even working smart for that matter is not something that they are designed for. Slacking through life and leading an easy, unambitious life is a conscious choice they make. More to my envious dismay, they lead a good enough life and die peacefully without having gone through the mental complexities that the ones living more intently under incessant self-scrutiny have to go through.

I don’t know why some of us choose the difficult path to gratification in life. At the end, the ambitious and the unambitious ones are buried in the same grave. The only difference is that the ambitious ones have reached theirs’ harbouring a lifetime of anxiety, fear of failure, mental health issues and what not. Sure, we have also had our share of  accomplishments and arguably elevated sense of happy moments; but God knows we have paid the price through constant social scrutiny and the drive to live up to everyone’s expectations. Sigh.


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