Today: a contemplation, rather than a quote.
Sometimes drive can be amazing, beneficial and powerful. It can help us get where we want to go, and can help us achieve goals.
Other times it can be a challenge, get in the way, or cause us to neglect the things that matter most.
I’ve been quite driven for most of my life, and have a grab-bag of wonderful accolades as a result:
- Dux of my high school
- Won a study trip to the USA at age 17
- Won a Rep Basketball tournament
- Set the school high jump record
- Won a $40K scholarship to University
- Landed a $100K/yr job first year out of Uni
- Won a few band competitions (I was the drummer)
- Won dozens of Silver and a few Gold awards in Photography
- Runner-up State Wedding Photographer of the Year
- Runner-up National Documentary Photographer of the Year
- Master of Photography
- Won Business Awards Category twice in a row
- Completed a 42.2km Marathon
The funny thing about being driven is that sometimes it causes us to neglect the important stuff. I’ve had some amazingly low points along the journey to those achievements.
I’ve been depressed many times, and most recently was diagnosed clinically and saw a psychologist.
I’ve been injured badly along the way of my sporting and fitness achievements. Basketball gave me a broken wrist and a dodgy knee. Running, and in particular training for the marathon gifted me with strained ITB’s, torn hamstrings, torn calves, Achilles tendonitis (I couldn’t walk for two days after finishing my marathon). Surfing kindly delivered torn rotator cuffs.
My work on computers and as a photographer has led to challenges with my back and neck, and a new wrist injury.
In all of the above I didn’t mention my three greatest achievements – my wife, my daughter, and my son.
Like I said, being driven can lead us to neglect the important stuff, by focussing on what we think is important, instead of what actually is important.
I have spent the last week or two being utterly focussed on my work, to the neglect of my physical and mental health. I wiped out a bit today, and have stepped back to think and reflect on the past few weeks.
This driven behaviour, and accompanying personal neglect, is a recurring theme in my life, and I am learning to recognise it earlier and more easily, just as I am learning to be more patient with myself about when I fall into old habits.
Drive can be a good thing, but it can be a double-edged sword. We must be mindful that we don’t cut ourselves with our own ambitions.