We've all heard of those people who have a tremendous drive to follow their dream, who put a great deal of energy into accomplishing or experiencing a specific thing. We may even know one or two - the olympic athletes, the entrepreneurs who build big businesses from the ground up. It occurred to me today to wonder how well they handle the rest of their lives.
One of the themes of this blog has been that if you put effort into doing things that energize you, you'll have more energy, not less, to put into everything else. And by "everything else" I mean difficult things like the Kafkaesque dealings with faceless bureaucracies, or handling conflicts at work. But is it possible that some people's passions just provide respectable cover to hide from the difficulties of day to day life? It's no mistake that the term "workaholic" was modeled after the word for a chemical addiction: this lifestyle is often an escape, an excuse not to spend time on one's relationships or health or any of a number of other difficult but necessary things. Those things get swept under the rug, using the socially acceptable excuse that work doesn't leave enough time to deal with them.
I have only my own gut feeling to go on, but I'd guess that most of the people who are focused on their dreams sweep little under the rug. But the possibility is there. I could draw an analogy to evolutionary biology: for every successful adaptation, there's a mimic that rides on the coattails of that success. Monarch butterflies are poisonous to their predators, so viceroy butterflies adopted the same coloration pattern to cash in on the predators' aversion without having to go to the trouble of making themselves poisonous. Here, people doing what they love usually deal very well with the problems everyone finds draining, but there are probably always a few workaholics and Olympic athletes who use their visible drive to allow their private lives to be a mess.