There are very few people who don’t work themselves too hard, whether it’s with traditional work, with family commitments, or other things we “have to” do.
Why am I so sure of it?
Because we all use the words “have to” every day pushing ourselves to do things that we don’t want to. I’ll even go so far as to call most people have-to masochists.
According to the dictionary, masochism is:
gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one’s own actions or the actions of others. (source: dictionary.com)
Now, think about your live. Are there tasks you don’t like? Things that cause you pain, make you feel deprived of joy or even degraded as a person? Things that you choose to do or let others inflict on you.
It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it to pursue a dream or because you feel your commitments to others require you of it. If you use the words “I have to” you’re working yourself too hard and being a masochist.
The question is: do you want to remain one?
I don’t really enjoy pain, deprivation or degradation. You?
In every dream we pursue there will be some things that we don’t like to do, however, I believe that we can cut out many of those painful or dehumanizing tasks.
Often we accept this pain because it’s easier. In many cases it’s the devil we know, it’s familiar or “everyone” expects it.
Saying “no” takes work, creates confrontation and requires creativity. Standing up for ourselves asks that we step away from the crowd and insist on being treated like a person who deserves respect.
And who’s the worst taskmaster in this? Ourselves.
All too often we purposefully choose to do things that we, at best, find distasteful because we think it’s what we have to do to reach our goals. It’s the old story of the end justifies the means.
I challenge you to stop being a masochist and to stop doing those tasks which make you feel less of a person. There are many ways to do so without harming the chances of reaching your goals:
Stop doing it: This simple answer often creates fear in people, but the reality is that most tasks do not involve life or death situations. If you really hate doing something stop doing it. Period.
Find someone else to do it: Everyone has different likes and dislikes. What is torture for you might be nirvana for someone else. This is especially easy in larger offices where many people share multiple duties.
Pay someone else to do it: A variation of the above and the more common option for self-employed people and for things in our personal lives, like cleaning house.
Figure out another way to do it: This is where you need to apply some creativity. If the obvious answer to how to reach a goal includes things you hate doing then find a different way to go. For example, if you hate flying, you’re not going to take a vacation that requires flying. You’ll look for a holiday closer to home which involve driving, taking the train, or staying where you are.
Remember: our reactions to what the world presents us is a choice. The words “I have to” do not exist – they really mean “I choose to.”
And why on earth would you choose to cause yourself pain?