ANTIDOTES TO TOXIC BEHAVIOR: THE STEAMROLLER APPROACH
The opposite of "doing your own thing" is a steamroller attitude toward needs, goals, or aspirations. People with this attitude concentrate only on getting the job done, regardless of its effect on their over-all well-being. T people who function as steamrollers constrict themselves and their lives in order to accomplish their goals. The pain, emotional drain, and other poisonous effects to themselves are considered as largely irrelevant.
In most cases there are more realistic solutions— those involving a compromise between impulsiveness and "grinding it out until it's done." To function effectively in response to one's particular need invariably means that other needs must be at least temporarily suppressed. It is this reality which makes sense out of the word "work" as a necessary and nourishing function. Work implies an effort, an expenditure of energy which we are not entirely willing to make. Work includes energy directed toward suppressing the distractions of secondary needs so that we can focus more fully on our most pressing need at the moment.
More effort is required when the work at hand strongly violates our present needs. In contrast, working on a project we consider meaningful and interesting demands less effort. N people "work" in ways that are as harmonious as possible with their natural flow of needs.
Warren was a relentless grinder. Initially, in his career as a writer, he would work only when he felt his creative juices were flowing. On such occasions he would write for hours, while at other times he would go for days without typing a single word. Usually he would work for a few hours, then feel burned out and turn to other activities.
After his initial successes, the demand for his books increased greatly and his publisher was anxious for new manuscripts. Now Warren began to regiment himself. He began to set up schedules and rigidly refused to allow himself to disrupt them. He was determined to sit at the typewriter for so many hours each day whether he wrote a single word or not. His creativity dwindled, and his productivity along with it. Eventually he decided to give up his career as an author. He canceled his contracts with his publisher and began teaching. Subsequently, much to his surprise, he again discovered the spontaneous flow of his creativity. He realized that he could work effectively only when he needed to express himself and that he could not force himself to be creative.