I am a mouse on a wheel. It might be a shiny, diamond-studded wheel that spins all nice and smooth, but it is still a wheel. I’m a stimulus/response machine. I don’t see this as an inherently bad thing. It is what it is. It’s this behavior that has helped me succeed in many things. It helps to multi-task at work. It helps me to juggle multiple to-do’s at home. It helps me just put the blinders on and get things done even when those things might not be fun or overly exciting (like training hard or doing the laundry).
Part of this change has to do with my new role as a manager. I am no longer defining my success at work in terms of what I do, but in terms of what my team can do. I am having to deal with many more varied projects and problems than I have ever had to do in the past. Like it or not, since I spend so much time at or thinking about work; this work-based stimulus response behavior pervades the rest of my life. It is not good or bad, it is what it is.
However, I’m starting to see a dramatic contrast. I just returned from a whirlwind 8 day trip to China, Korea and Taiwan (for work). Talk about stimulus-response overload! Now, in the throes of holiday season, most of my team and peers are on vacation. E-mail has flowed to a trickle. I haven’t had a phone call in days. My stimuli are all gone! Oh no, what to do! It’s actually taken me a bit of time (a day or so) to make the switch from dancing monkey (stimulus response addict) to normal human being.
As a “normal human being”, I feel much more calm; but also less excited about stuff. I am able to think long term, but am actually not nearly as motivated to get a bunch of near-term (easy) stuff done. I am more looking forward to going to work in the morning (less pressure) but a little more bored when I get there.
So yes, there is a change. It’s not good or bad. It is what it is.