Pressure. I learned in my youth that diamonds come from extreme pressure. My teacher – Superman. But seriously, it is an interesting fact that extreme pressure, heat and the right circumstances creates diamonds.
So why am I talking pressure and diamonds on a Dad’s blog? Simple:
Men are coal.
Life is pressure…
and fatherhood – is extreme pressure.
So why aren’t we all diamonds?
The catch is that the carbon being placed under the pressure, has no escape. And there we find the problem. As simple humans, men and women alike, we don’t allow the pressure to form us into diamonds. We escape before the transformation can complete.
I like the right amount of pressure. A healthy desire to get things done, mixed with a short time window and some hero like moves. Anything more than that, and I want out.
But being a father, that is there everyday, is a lot of pressure. I mean really there, like walk in throw your bag down, hug your family and play, listen, connect and engage as much as they want. That kind of responsibility, really makes you feel pressure. It’s even harder if your own father, was not there, or was not the example of a man who faced responsibility.
So what can we do? First we need to ask ourselves: “Where do I run to avoid pressure?”
- Video Games
- Physical Fitness
- and tons more…
Do some of these things seem like totally healthy escapes? Look – I have been there. From the darkest items on the list to playing World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Facebook Games, Zynga Games, etc. They are fun – right. But they are also an escape, especially if you find yourself going to it to avoid interactions with your family.
The scariest part of this list is that many of these items can seem like mediums for connection. We all get together and watch movies right? But do you talk? You need to work out to stay in shape, but what could you be doing with your child or spouse during that time? etc.
I am not trying to say that we need to be pressure filled people that never have fun. No, not at all. I am just asking you to consider, for a moment, exactly why you do the things on this list? Is it really because it is fun?
So now that you know where you go – I recommend the following:
- Ask others if they think you run away from challenges?
- Listen and consider the feedback
- Make a decision to change, little by little – trying to do it all in one shot will just make you anxious and you’ll run back to your old ways
- Pick something new to replace the activity: A family walk, talk, book reading time, start a non-profit, learn a new skill! 🙂
In closing, one day I looked up from where I was sitting and realized that I just wasted an hour of my life. I could have been using this time to make the world a better place, love my family, learn something, or build something meaningful. Instead, I leveled a character in a totally meaningless game and just zoned out in a reward system, that brought me no reward in RL (real life). Not soon after this moment – I started to write out my vision for this organization.
What could you be doing with your family, or for others that would leave you feeling fulfilled and would add to this world? Just a question.
Don’t get mad.
Just think and take the pressure. See what diamonds form.
p.s. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.