Compliments of Erin DeMay via Flickr

Treasured employees bear the trait of conscientiousness. This dimension has been linked to performance at work, training proficiency (Gellatly, 1996), and superlative product.

Conscientiousness to a point can lead to increased production. But when it’s carried too far, repetitive checking can result in diminishing returns. Known as  “doubting disease,” Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is a condition in which individuals are besieged by intrusive thoughts, which cause them to redouble their efforts in previously settled areas. Nagging doubts set into motion the mind’s cavalry, so that no stone is left unturned (literally).

The problem is that over focused vigilance of this type is never ending – causing anxiety on the part of the checker, and a fetid mental muck which comprises an inner hell. OCPD can be the result of previous experience with others who were hypercritical, an extreme incidence of bullying, or perhaps a genetic predisposition (and off balance brain chemistry).

Whatever the cause, the feelings of being out of control are overwhelming – and interfere with fulfilling one’s utmost potential. It’s impossible to move forward if the wheels are continually spinning in one place.

In his article How Brad Overcame Compulsive Checking, Munford explains that OCPD sufferers engage in ritualistic behaviors – e.g., calling trusted friends, then describing the situation to double check that they did everything correctly. The more that individuals heed the bellowing voice of non-satisfaction, the more that they find themselves its prisoner. OCPD strangles creative urges, because the end result is always the same – a  continual round of “taking a sneak peak.”

Repetitive actions stem from a failure to put things in perspective – and perhaps a lacuna of wanted things which would put events in their respective place. I wonder if this could be a subliminal cry for help (suggesting an imbalance caused by either circumstance or obligation)?

Is OCPD then the mind’s (albeit cruel way) of capturing your attention? When conditions arise that are unsettling, try looking at your life from a deeper perspective. Are you on a path to achieving your dreams, or are you simply living for someone else? Are you the recipient of extreme disrespect at work (which has remained unaddressed, because your organization has no imperative in this area?). Do you feel like you’re “stuck in a rut?” Mental manifestations may be a way of bringing your attention to the unwanted. Asking yourself what you truly wish for (and if you’re on the path to achieving it) is one step in self-healing. Taking care of the underlying issues may in fact solve your problems.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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