The Four H’s of Self Destruction: Have You Fallen Into The Trap?

I’m tired. All the time. And I’m ashamed of myself that I have not been able to overcome it. Quite simply, I have not been accomplishing what I’d like to in my life specifically when it comes to my blog and the “bigger” plans I have for it.

People struggle with so much more than I do on a daily basis. I feel like a weakling, a 40-year old dude from NY who can’t get his shit together. I’m doing my best, but it never feels good enough.

I’m dedicated to my kids and my wife. They come first, and that’s how I like it. But somewhere along the way I have lost my balance. Being dedicated to my family should not mean sacrificing all of oneself. But in my mind, in a twisted subconcious way, it seems I have done just that  sacrificed my professional happiness in order to be a better dad and husband.

But nobody asked me to.

I just feel there’s just not enough time in the day to get it all done (or so it appears at first glance). And after working long hours 5-days a week, how can I take more time away from my family?

The result is a crabby, edgy, non-satisfied dad who feels unfulfilled in the career department. Since I have no plans of putting my kids or wife anywhere but in the number one position, I need to find another way to make time for myself. Time where I have enough energy and cognitive process to work on Fulfilling Career Stuff (FCS).

Although the term does sound a bit funny, I think just about any parent can understand where I’m coming from.

So I took a closer look at my situation, how I spend my time.

I realized (for the umpteenth time) that there is a small window of opportunity after the kids go the bed for me to be productive and work on my FCS. About 2 hours before I pass out (only to wake up with keyboard face).

So why do I play Internet poker instead of working on my blog, my idea for a TV show or my book? Why aren’t I working MORE on making Daddy Brain a bigger deal, one that can potentially support my family? This is what I THINK & SAY my goal is, so why aren’t I taking ACTION on it?

When the night rolls around, I WANT A BREAK. But then all day long, I WANT CHANGE. I’m getting stuck in wants, and when that happens I find myself lacking the very things I desire. I’m basically stuck in resistance.

Is part of it self sabotage? Maybe, but it think the problem is more complex than that.

It begins with being exhausted. And when I’m this tired I become captured by the Four H’s of Self Destruction: Hobby becomes Habit becomes Harmful becomes Hated.

Bear with me while I explain because this is a dilemma I think most people struggle with. One that traps us in a particular state of mind that makes us incapeable of accomplishing that which is so important to us.

Many of us have hobbies, things that are fun, bring us joy, help us relax and so on. Technically speaking, hobbies are harmless as long as they remain hobbies. But sometimes something happens to these harmless things they change and become…

Let’s take my Internet poker playing as an example. At one point playing Internet poker was just a hobby. But somewhere along the way it became a coping mechanism. It became something that, as the day wore on, I would feel more and more of a compulsion to do.

Don’t worry, I’ve made money and I’m not broke from it. But it has robbed more hours from my life than I can count. Just an hour or two a night, but the hours add up. Put together, these same hours could have resulted in a book, dozens of blog posts or a spec script for the TV show I’m developing. It could have also been dedicated to some extra sleep which would keep me in a better state of mind (making it easier to avoid the Four H’s of Self Destruction).

Another example: a casual drinker who has two or three beers a week. This turns to a six pack a week. Then multiple beers a night until this casual drinker (hobby) has a drinking problem (habit). It could be any hobby that mercilessly grasps you sex, drugs, TV, reading, puzzles, exercise, naps, crosswords… the list is endless.

Now your little hobby has turned into a monster. It negatively affects your life, your relationships, your work whatever. And since it’s no longer a hobby, but a habit, it is very difficult to stop.

Sometimes we hate the habit, sometimes we hate ourselves for having the habit. Often, people just feel unhappy and unfulfilled and don’t allow themselves to go any further. Let’s face it: turning a hobby into a habit is a great way to hinder ourselves. For many it is a path to self destruction.

In the following weeks, I plan on diving deeper into each of the for H’s. I hope you’ll stick around to read them, and more importantly to share your opinion so we can all become happier, more fulfilled human beings.

A clear indication of whether I’m figuring this out or not will be the amount of blog posts I am able to complete. And the amount of poker I am able to avoid.

And remember, you are not alone…

Related links:
The Four H’s of Self Destruction: When Hobby Becomes Habit

8 Replies to “The Four H’s of Self Destruction: Have You Fallen Into The Trap?”

  1. wow – you are judging yourself way too harshly! You have kids and a job and demands on you, when you sit down to write, if it goes blank, don’t worry, walk away and do something with the family. Get inspiration anywhere you can, maybe look at things through the eyes of your children and see a whole new world. You are being way too hard on yourself, or go get some counseling about your poker addiction if it is taking up valuable time, we only have so many years and so much time, use it to your advantage

  2. @ AJ: That’s just it. I have an abundance of things to write about. That’s not the problem. The problem is making the time to do it.

    Thanks for the comment!


  3. Moderation is the key. Balancing a full workload, children, a wife, and poker is alot if stress factors to add up. I find its best to make a roughed out schedule and set up time to do things you enjoy like poker… GL

  4. I don’t think you’re judging yourself too harshly. We (men and fathers) move through these phases. I’ve been there plenty of times myself. Moving through that place where you want to be productive for yourself and not because someone else is relying on you to be so.

    It may be what some refer to as “personal worth”.

    This was a very good post, as most of yours are. I appreciate the insight you work to share with the rest of us and look forward to reading as you dig into each of these H’s moving forward.

    And remember, you are not alone …

  5. @ Poker Mario: I do find that certain things in moderation is a good thing. But in the case of manifesting something more substantial with my blog (and other Daddy Brain projects), I need to hit a tipping point where I’m investing enough time to see strong results.

    I totally agree that balance is key. But it seems damn near impossible, working 45 hours a week with 7 1/2 hours of commuting on top of it. There’s simply not enough time for balance. So I settle for “as close to balance” as i can get…

    @ Chuck: Yes, being productive, doing something that is meaningful to me. Something that makes a difference and has value. There’s a saying, “if you shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will be among the stars.” I’m shooting for the moon in an effort to make sure whatever I do doesn’t suck!

    Thank you for your kind words. I am honored that you appreciate my blog.

  6. Awesome article Babbo – I look forward to reading the rest of the series. I’ve been struggling with trying to develop myself more and often find myself in the same situation as you. Tired, cranky, mad at my wife, frustrated with the kids, tired of my job and all I want to do when I come home is sit on my butt and take a break.

    I also have many things I want to write about but not nearly enough time to do so. I stumbled this post in hopes that other men find it and learn a thing or two.

    1. @ Tyler: Thank you for the comment & the stumble. I think what we’re experiencing can be very overwhelming. I know it is for me. The more we talk about it and help each other find solutions, the better. Did you get to read part 2 yet? Peace!


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