I’ve been studying successful people for my personal development blog for about eight years. And one common behavior pattern I find is that some successful people will be successful partially because they work hard. But then, they run into issues in their life because what they’ve neglected because of the workaholism.
Even recently, I’ve encountered a few examples, and I’m sure I will continue to encounter more. I recently finished Will Smith’s memoir, and he talks about how he went on a mini-vacation to Jamaica and he couldn’t stop feeling restless because he was so used to working all the time. That restlessness when you’re supposed to relax is a good sign that you may be a workaholic. You have to learn to be able to turn it off and relax. Another recent example was when I was skimming through Machine Gun Kelly’s documentary on Hulu. I don’t follow his music, but I did find out in the documentary that he suffered from workaholism, which resulted in him neglecting his relationships. He regretted making it seem that his goal of a number one album was more important than his relationships.
It’s worth bringing up because I don’t think I’ve ever done a post on this, yet it’s very important to be aware of the tradeoffs of working hard. What makes it more difficult is that successful people will tell you that you have to work hard and work harder than others to succeed.
While there’s some truth here, people buy into this idea, thinking it will solve all their problems. Most people will never reach that point of workaholism because they don’t have what it takes. For various reasons, laziness, a lack of interest, or not a strong enough motivation, they won’t work hard. But that leaves the people who do find a way to work 10+ hours a day.
While working hard may ultimately lead to financial and career success, here are the areas where it can hurt you. A workaholic may experience some of these repercussions.
- Having little or less time for your family or other relationships.
- Your loved ones feeling like you’re never there for them.
- A lack of a social life.
- Regrets of not being there for your loved ones.
- Failing to care for other areas of your life, like your health, fitness, financial budget, hygiene, social skills, fashion, etc. because you’re focused on work.
- Falsely assume that making a bunch of money will solve all their other issues.
The biggest thing you want to avoid is using work as an excuse rather than a real reason for other things. Some workaholics use work as a crutch or an excuse for why they can’t attend, invest in, work on, or spend more time in other areas they’re lacking, like a social life, family time, and so forth. But in reality, they probably could or they’re scared about it so they avoid it and use work as the front. This leads to areas that get neglected, like floundering romantic relationships, a poor family life, a lack of a social life.
There’s no perfect solution, just better solutions. I’ve seen people who work hard and play hard. They work 60+ hour weeks, but it’s normal for them. Then, they go to parties and social events using the remaining time. It’s not ideal because work does take away from their time, sleep, and health, but their social skills and social life are sometimes still fairly decent. They don’t make excuses or use work as a reason not to attend to other areas. You don’t want to be that person who is actually just scared of social interactions so avoids improving in that area and plays it off with excuses.
A few years ago, I was listening to the Eventual Millionaire podcast, which has millionaires on as guests to give their tips. One guest said that his father was rich, but he was never there for him. He would’ve given up all the fancy toys and rooms in his house to be with his father.
To make things more complex, I don’t think it’s black and white. My own family has some workaholics who went on to pursue what they wanted to achieve, and their loved ones have somehow managed to function well. It doesn’t seem like anyone is faulting anyone else. They’ve been able to all operate harmoniously. And I’ve found that teenagers and young adults are fine with you spending less quality time with them at that stage of their lives.