I’ve noticed a change in myself, something that’s clearly apparent as type this from my bed on a Friday afternoon: I’m lazy. I’m lazy, I’m lazy, I’m lazy. There. I said it.
I do occasionally drag myself out of bed for a little bit of exercise, and it was just yesterday that I had a revelation while doing just that:
I no longer seek the approval of anyone.
That’s it. That, I believe, is why I’ve lost my drive, my desire for accomplishment, my mojo.
You only need to look at Instagram to see how people crave recognition. Getting ‘likes’ and other forms of congratulations is a reward. It’s a dopamine hit that makes us feel good. But even in our daily lives we like to be showered with praise, whether it’s from family, friends, colleagues or customers.
In my case, I’m guilty of seeking attention, and no doubt come (came?) across as somewhat of a narcissist, boasting about how far I could run, how much weight I could lift, and how much money I could earn. I felt I had to prove I was capable of great things in order for people to appreciate me, but over time, I could almost feel their eyes roll as I spoke of my achievements.
And there’s the catch-22. If no-one wants to hear me bragging, then there’s no reason to do anything worth bragging about!
Living up to people’s expectations
There have been father figures in my life, and my actual father, who I felt expected a lot from me. I had to live up to their expectations. But none of those people are here anymore. Actually, my last three bosses have all passed away (well before their time), as has my dad.
Now I’m my own boss, and the only expectations my wife and son have of me is to pay the bills and chauffeur them around when called upon. When it comes to proving my self-worth, they’d be more impressed if I washed the dishes than ran an ultra-marathon.
Expecting too much from myself
The only pressure on me is self-inflicted. I have a tendency to start side-projects to earn some extra money, and I hate myself for failing to finish them… but not enough that I actually want to do something about it. I prefer to wallow in self-pity while I play computer games or watch endless YouTube Shorts.
Having nothing to prove has made me lazy, for sure, but it’s also a welcome break for my anxiety and chronic back pain. Oh… right now, though, I need to drive my son to cram school. It’s actually quite nice being appreciated for the little things. And maybe that’s enough.If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!