Jack and Kent are next door neighbors who decided to add decks to their homes. Jack spent almost the entire summer building the deck himself while Kent hired a contractor and spent most of his time at the shore. There would be no problem if do-it-yourselfer Jack and his family had enjoyed the effort he expended. But he found the project to be tedious and exhausting, and his wife and children resented the fact that he spent hardly any time with them. Jack speaks of the project proudly, but he and his family paid a steep price for his pride.
How many times have you heard someone say: “If you want something done right, do it yourself!” The do-it-yourself tradition runs deep in the American psyche. Visions of pioneers cutting logs and building cabins in the wilderness haunt our lumber yards and hardware stores on Saturday mornings.
Actually, oftentimes if you want to get something done (or done well) your best bet is to do it yourself. But like any “often truth” this attitude can be carried too far. There are many people who want to be in control, who have big ego investments in saying “I did it myself,” and simply don’t trust anyone else to handle a job well. Because they have trouble delegating responsibility to others, backlogs jam up their lives.
• Ask for help, delegate responsibility to others, and utilize the talents of professionals. You’ll be freer to attend to more important matters, and you’ll enhance the quality of your life.
A mechanical engineer complained that whenever he hired workers around the house, the jobs they did were not as good as he could have done himself. But in therapy, he learned to settle for something “good enough” rather than “perfect” and he became generally more relaxed and much less anxious.
A friend of ours with a sense of humor said: “Never do anything yourself that you can leave to others.”
We say:• Set priorities, balance your responsibilities, do what you enjoy and can do, and delegate more often.
Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus is a licensed psychologist, Co-founder and Clinical Director of The Lazarus Institute. In addition to his general psychotherapy practice, Dr. Clifford Lazarus specializes in health and neuropsychology.
Dr. Clifford Lazarus received his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University where he was a Henry Rutgers Research Scholar. Seen here are excerpts from one of his books, The 60-Second Shrink – 101 Strategies For Staying Sane In a Crazy World, a book, he co-authored with his father “One of the ten most influential psychotherapists in America” Arnold A. Lazarus, Ph.D. For more details on Dr. Clifford Lazarus visit this link to The Lazarus Institute. Or visit his page here on friendlysuggestions.com.
Direct links to two highly recommended books by Dr. Clifford Lazarus & Dr. Arnold A. Lazarus: