I am paraphrasing what Ryan Holiday in his book cited:
The writers Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse-Five) and Joseph Heller (Catch-22) were at a glamorous party outside New York City. Standing in the stately second home of the billionaire host, Vonnegut began to needle his friend. He described the exchange in a poem published in the New Yorker in 2005:
I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel
to know that our host only yesterday
may have made more money than your novel Catch-22
has earned in its entire history?”
And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
This week I felt — rushed like I am not making any progress, unsettled.
I stopped to think and reflect: Why do I feel this way? — Like I am never doing enough, and what I am doing is never good enough. While striving for excellence is a good thing, it has to be done in a balanced way. It is imperative to feel calm, be mindful of what we are doing. — We focus only on doing our best.
When we are driven at any given time for any reason — we have to stop and calm ourselves — center ourselves — remember that the only requirement is to do our best — this is ENOUGH. We have to accept that. Otherwise, we will be hunted all our lives by that feeling of constant unrest and drive to do more. We have to come to terms that there will always be problems to be solved, things we need to do or like to do; Places we want to see.
It is a necessity for our inner peace to be able to say “Enough” — more to ourselves than to anyone else. Only we can decide — when enough is enough. I never realized how much pressure I put on myself and others because first, I did not know how to pace myself; therefore, I was not able to take necessary, timely breaks. We would work with more focus, be more productive, pay more attention, have much better relationships.
The saying “be content with what you have, do your best wherever you are with what you have” — I heard this from my elders quite often when I was growing up. But we don’t understand such time-proven quotes any longer.
We find ourselves in an intense competitive environment. Whether we like it or not, we get caught up in it.
As our world is changing at an ever-increasing fast pace, it will be imperative to find our inner locus. If we attempt to keep pace with the demands this new environment put on us, we’ll be in trouble.
More than ever before, we need to know who we are, what we want to do with our lives, and how we can achieve that. Once we have that clarity, our life will be an exciting journey, and we’ll have a sense of purpose.
For many years I succumbed to the external pressures of life. I convinced myself that I had no choice. I was reactive, and I have to admit — I did not like myself. It is a horrible state of mind to be. I used to tell people how important self-respect is since he can never run from ourselves. Anyone else we can leave if necessary, but we are stuck with our selves. But in this period of my life, I did precisely the opposite. I don’t remember when that change occurred. I got so busy with the growing demands of my work and my family. I did not notice what happened to me. Only after we lost the company did I start to reflect on my inner life. I felt I had shriveled emotionally — like I lost my soul. But I am happy to say that I have “recovered.”
While I cannot undo the mistakes I’ve made — I wished I could — at least, I can do my best to restore damaged relationships with my family. A few years ago, the possibility of having a deep connection with my children seemed far away. I am writing all this in hopes that others might learn from it and avoid such errors
I found myself in the daily course of action attempting to do too much only to realize that no-one else cared or benefitted from my extraneous effort on that particular task. I could have saved my energy for doing things that mattered. It happens when we don’t realize our effort and result is sufficient and go for the “overkill.” It is not easy to strike a balance, but by paying attention, we will realize how often it happens. It will save us time and energy for the essential things we need to do.