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TM Article 2

Who Says Workaholism's Bad For You?

by Rajen Devadason

I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.

Thomas Jefferson


Although whole families have disintegrated because of the extreme workaholism of the primary breadwinner, there can be nobility in becoming a specific type of workaholic.

I'm going to take a rather odd route in this journey of addressing what has become a mainstay of urban life. So, let’s begin by scrutinising our usual definition of an ‘asset’. The accounting definition we’re familiar with is based upon ‘what we own’.

This quantity is offset against our liabilities or ‘what we owe’, when determining the strength of either a corporate balance sheet or a personal net worth statement.

But there’s another definition of ‘asset’ that’s gaining currency through the best-selling books of financial guru Robert Kiyosaki. He defines an asset as ‘something that puts money in our pocket’ and a liability as ‘something that takes money out of our pocket’.

Not everyone agrees. Many people take offence at Kiyosaki's ideas that appear to run counter to conventional accounting definitions.

Be that as it may, I truly believe that in the vital area of time management aimed at enhancing quality of life Kiyosaki’s view of an asset being anything that channels net positive cashflow into our coffers is invaluable.

That’s because of what American founding father Benjamin Franklin once wrote: “Time is money”.

Bear that in mind as I give you a dictionary definition of a workaholic:

“A person who suffers from a compulsive need to work excessively hard.”

That describes most people I spend time with. Let’s face it; most of us evolve into workaholics because we’re terrified of the consequences of slacking off. Perhaps it’s a dread of being poor again or of falling behind our peers in the sprint up the corporate ladder.

But over time (and usually during overtime), we often discover we love the adrenalin rush that comes with completing a stressful, intense project. We feel great, and yearn for that feeling again. And again! Eventually, we become addicted to our own adrenalin.

Like most compulsive dependencies, adrenalin addiction is bad.

Interestingly, the cure I’ve discovered through time invested with consulting clients involves retaining the workaholism (after a fashion) to harness our well-endowed capacity to work intensely on long projects, while weaning ourselves off the adrenalin highs of brief, intense projects – unless those contribute to the success of our vital long-term projects!

Why bother?

Well, imagine this single initial condition with two possible outcomes:

An intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead is tested in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean.

In situation ONE, its guidance system works fine; it detonates on target.

But in situation TWO, the guidance system goes on the blink after the ICBM is launched. The metal bird’s flight path becomes erratic. Will it crash into the ocean, an inhabited island, or a bustling metropolis?

Our capacity for work is the human equivalent of atomic power. Yet, because many of us have lost sight of ‘why’ we work extra hard, our guidance systems don’t work. We run the risk of precipitating a calamity in our lives.

Solutions: Clarity and focus.

Intelligent time management means focusing our prodigious capacity for intense work on salary-increasing, profit-generating activities that allow us to build or buy Kiyosaki-type assets.

So, I urge you to re-examine your career and workaholic tendencies.

Recognise that pure adrenalin addiction is bad for you, but that workaholism geared toward accumulating assets that flow money in your pocket – without your having to work – may be good!

To ensure it truly ends up with yielding a good, even great, result, this is what I suggest you do:

Exert yourself like Atlas of old, but only for a planned five, ten, even fifteen years to generate passive income, in the form of interest, dividends, rental, royalties and profits, which should be reinvested so that what starts out as a trickle turns into a torrent!

If you succeed, you’ll have managed your time well ‘today’ to reach bona fide financial freedom – when your passive income stream or river meets all normal living expenses – ‘tomorrow’.

That extra time tomorrow, which extra money from focused extra workaholism today, boils down to extra life.

Surely that is a goal worth realigning all your current workaholic tendencies for!


© Rajen Devadason


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Rajen Devadason, CEO RD WealthCreation Sdn Bhd & RD Book Projects
349, Desa Rasah, Jalan Bayan 7, 70300 Seremban, NS, Malaysia
Tel/Fax: +606 632 8955