Monthly Archives: April 2012

Human Doing

When a valuable resource such as time is limited and non-renewable, it is wise to use it efficiently. But when the consequences are hyperbolized by all-or-nothing thinking, the inefficient use of time is not just unwise; it is strictly unacceptable.

People with OCPD are preoccupied with the efficient use of time because their all-or-nothing thinking hyperbolizes the consequences of time that is spent in any other way.

In attempt to maximize their efficiency, people with OCPD tend to…

(1) cut out unproductive activities (activities that have little to do with providing a sense of safety from their original fear)

  • Being still, waiting, doing nothing
  • Leisure, relaxation
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Etc.

(2) overdo productive activities (activities that have a lot to do with providing a sense of safety from their original fear)

  • Work
  • Performance
  • Success
  • Etc.

(3) rush through required activities

  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Getting from point A to point B
  • Etc.

An OCPDer’s preoccupation with the efficient use of time can be so extreme that the success or failure to execute the above time-efficiency maximization model can elicit strong feelings of happiness or guilt.


  • You have a strong ability for time management
  • You are punctual
  • You are skilled at discerning the value of different activities
  • You have a sharp sense for identifying the inefficiencies in work processes and have a natural ability to fix them
  • You are efficient
  • You are very active and driven
  • You are so appreciative when others share their time with you


If the efficient use of time is that important to you, make efficient use of your time on your own. Do not expect others to conform to your pace. Remember that, unless you are in a position of leadership in the workplace, you really do not have any right to control how time is spent by everyone else. If others make it a challenge for you to achieve your maximum time-efficiency, do not get angry with them. Their way of spending time is actually more normal than the way that you spend your time. If the inefficient use of time by others causes you distress, try to calm yourself down by doing something productive at the same time. For example, if your friend’s lateness causes you to wait, read a book while you wait.

Understand that your OCPD friend is the way he or she is because of fear. If your OCPD friend explodes in anger for your inefficient use of time, try to not take it personally. Let your understanding of your friend’s fear give you patience to let him or her vent out his or her frustration. When your OCPD friend feels devastated by his or her inefficient use of time, provide emotional support by showing empathy. Try to help him or her see that the consequences of his or her misuse of time are not as bad as he or she thinks. If your friend attempts to control your use of time, stand your ground and say that you want to spend your time in your way, not because it is better or more efficient, but because you feel more at ease with life (this he or she will not be able to argue against). If your friend has cut out an unproductive activity that means a lot to you (eg. spending time with you or sharing in the household chores), communicate to him or her that you would really appreciate his or her attention in that area. Again, do not try to argue that the activity has to be done – your OCPD friend will probably come up with a well-formed explanation on how illogical it is to do such an inefficient activity. Instead, just humbly say that it means a lot to you and that you would really appreciate it. If your OCPD friend gives in, at first he or she will feel a lot of frustration while participating in this activity that his or her mind has already classified as being inefficient. Encourage your friend every step of the way by continuously showing your appreciation for his or her efforts. This will help your OCPD friend see that such a seemingly irrelevant task does make a difference.

Understand that your preoccupation with the efficient use of time is a cognitive distortion. When you feel distressed from the inefficient use of time, reject that negative feeling. Train yourself to feel at ease in these times. Start now by reserving a part of your day to do something that your mind has classified as being unproductive. I spent my time sitting still in a meditation posture, closing my eyes, keeping quiet, and thinking about nothing. Your mind will tell you, “No, no! This is uncomfortable! Stop doing that this instant!” You will then reply, “Shut up, mind! This is perfectly fine. This is perfectly fine.” As you do this more, your mind will send these messages of discomfort less frequently and less intensely. You are a human being, not a human doing. Train yourself to be happy just as you are, not for what you do. When you spend time with others, try to learn from them and go along with their pace.

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As previously discussed in my post titled “Fear of Mistakes,” people with OCPD avoid making mistakes because their all-or-nothing thinking hyperbolizes the consequences. It is this same fear that causes some people with OCPD (those who are not so concerned with cleanliness) to hoard.

People with OCPD who are not so concerned with cleanliness hoard because their all-or-nothing thinking hyperbolizes the consequences of the wrongful disposal of things that have value.

To a person with OCPD, every item has value. If there is no beneficial use for something now, there very well might be some beneficial use for it in the future.

In high school, I once had an impressive collection of my own pubic hair inside a Ziploc bag that I stored away in my desk because I thought I might use it as a prank on someone later. Another OCPD friend of mine, for the same reason, managed a jar full of his own urine inside his closet during the same time in his life. We now both look back and laugh at how odd we once used to be.

Just as inaction is the result of an OCPDer’s difficulty to part with one of his or her options, inaction is also the result of an OCPDer’s difficulty to part with one of his or her belongings. Instead of throwing them away, most people with OCPD will tend to let things of little value just sit around and take up space.


  • You have a gift of foresight – You can see the potential value in people, ideas, and objects more than others.
  • You have a gift for archiving – Your mind is designed to be good with keeping track of the whereabouts of an extensive number of objects.


If you are living or working with other people, identify the private spaces that are yours and the public spaces that are shared with other people. In your mind, draw an imaginary line dividing those spaces. If you are going to neglect taking action in disposing items of little value, do that in your own private space and do not let your things spill over that line. If you have reached the capacity of your private space, ask the people you live with or work with if you may extend the perimeters of your private space. After all, your extension will result in the reduction of their public space or even their private space. If they decline your request, do not take it personally. Why should you be entitled to more private space than everyone else anyway? From that point on, if a new item must be archived within your clutter, make room for it by disposing the least important item of your collection. If others come into your private space and move your belongings in a way that you cannot access what you need anymore, communicate openly with them about the fear that you have concerning the whereabouts of your belongings. Kindly request them to respect your private space. If others continue to disrespect your private space, you may resort to using locks to prevent further intrusions.

If you live or work with a friend with OCPD, do not spoil your friend by giving him or her infinite space for his or her hoarding tendencies. Remind your friend nicely of the private spaces that are reserved for his or her own use and the public spaces that are shared with others. If your friend begins to take up space in shared areas, notify him or her right away before he or she has established that area as a permanent home for his or her personal items of value. Give your OCPD friend the chance to move it back him or herself. Warn your friend that, if he or she does not move it in a specified amount of time, you will move it back into his or her private space where it belongs. Finally, respect your friend’s private space and do not remove anything. If you believe something must be removed, consult with your OCPD friend first before touching it.

Keep your personal items out of public spaces and give yourself a maximum capacity for your private spaces so that you will be forced to learn how to throw things away.

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No More Mr. Nice Guy

When one submits to the needs and concerns of others, he or she risks him or herself to be taken advantage of. In fear of this risk, people with OCPD take an aggressive approach to having their own needs and concerns satisfied first.

People with OCPD are preoccupied with finishing first because their all-or-nothing thinking causes them to be fearful of being the nice guy who finishes last.

Inside every person with OCPD, there is a very good heart. As children, most OCPDers were delightfully obedient, doing everything that they’re supposed to do (orderliness) with so much heart and excellence. Being able to do this and fulfill their duty as a good, considerate child provided them with a sense of joy.

But with age, these children discover bitterly that the world does not appreciate their devotion. They learn that sharing only leaves them with less, being honest only leaves them more vulnerable, helping others only wastes their scarce time, and that “nice guys finish last.”

When their all-or-nothing thinking leads them to believe that they have been allowing themselves to be treated like a “doormat” to the rest of the world for far too long, many oppressed OCPDers abandon their identity as a considerate “nice” person and take upon a new badass identity (such simplification of the infinite number of different options down to two extreme options is another classic example of all-or-nothing decision-making).

Though people with OCPD are in fact good-hearted people who are just scared, all that the rest of the fear-free world sees is selfish people.


  • You are such a selfless and considerate person – Instead of feeling anxious about their portions being hunted down by you, people trust you and feel relaxed around you. Your selflessness is so great that it influences others to be selfless as well.
  • You are a person of strong integrity – Regardless of whether or not you get a reward out of it, you do good because you know it is the right thing to do.


Understand that your all-or-nothing thinking gives you a distorted perception of reality. Challenge yourself to think of the middle-ground every time that your mind gives a warning or a conclusion about others taking advantage of you. While you are with your good friends, stop yourself from thinking that every act between you and them is a deal or a transaction. When you do get the short-end of a deal, ask yourself first if the amount of your loss in that deal is really important enough to make a fuss about it. If it isn’t important enough, try to forget about it and move on without keeping track of your losses.

Understand that your OCPD friend is the way he or she is because of fear, not because he or she does not know how to be selfless. Therefore, being selfless to your OCPD friend in hopes of teaching him or her how to be selfless is a lost cause. The best thing you can do for your OCPD friend is to show him or her that you are a trustworthy person, that his or her fear does not need to extend towards you. Continuously failing to appreciate his or her selflessness will cause your OCPD friend to trust you less and less. More than anyone else, your OCPD friend really needs encouragement and appreciation for even his smallest acts of selflessness. If you sense that your OCPD friend is having all-or-nothing thoughts about being taken advantage of, help your friend find the middle-ground in his or her assessment of the deal at hand.

Understand that your all-or-nothing thinking was responsible for teaching you a false lesson in life. Despite how convincing your mind was in its extremely pessimistic assessment of your past acts of selflessness, the world did not walk all over you like a doormat. Begin today acting against that all-or-nothing thinking and allow yourself to be reeducated.

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Fear of Mistakes

All-or-nothing thinking causes people to lose the ability to see the middle-ground. This happens to a lot of people when they think about the consequences of their mistakes. In their mind, one bad move now could very likely cause a disastrous future.

People with OCPD avoid making mistakes at all costs because their all-or-nothing thinking hyperbolizes the consequences.

Inaction is the unfortunate result of such unforgiving thinking. The person with OCPD will not take action, will not decide, and will not commit in hopes of having all options still available to him or her. In reality, however, it is this inaction that is responsible for so many missed great opportunities. But while others recognize the destructiveness of such inaction, people with OCPD convince themselves through rationalization that their inaction was necessary to protect themselves from making a terrible mistake. Consequently, many people with OCPD continue to live their lives missing out on great opportunities.

This is an original song that I composed four years ago about missing the opportunity to meet a girl because of my nature to think and plan too excessively.


Understand that your inaction is not just causing you to miss opportunities, but it is likely causing others to miss opportunities as well. If you want to live a sad life watching your opportunities pass by, do it alone. Do not bring others down with you by forcing them to follow your inaction. Remind yourself that people are people, not “options” that you can just keep around until you figure out what you really want. When others make mistakes that affect you, do not allow your all-or-nothing thinking to hyperbolize the consequences. Train yourself to accurately assess the consequences of their mistakes, forgive, and move on. Learn to be more accepting of others’ mistakes by understanding that humankind is imperfect.

Although you would like your OCPD friend to take action, decide, or commit to something right now, understand that, as long as he or she has this fear of making mistakes, action will probably not take place in your preferred timing. As your OCPD friend is very sensitive to pressure, pressuring him or her to take action will only push him or her away even further. Although ultimatums may cause your OCPD friend to take rash action, once pressure lightens up again, your OCPD friend will probably go back to his or her inactive ways. You can help diminish your friend’s fear by asking questions that lead to the identification of the “middle-ground” of consequences. You can also help your OCPD friend be pulled towards a certain action by giving absolutely no pressure at all – playing “hard to get” might even pull them in even more. When you do make a mistake, try not to take their overreaction so personally. Show that you are sorry while helping your OCPD friend (through questions) recognize that the actual consequences of your mistake are not as bad as the extreme ones that he or she is imagining.

You must understand that your inaction is your enemy, not your friend. As long as you continue to comfort yourself by rationalizing that your inaction protects you from making terrible mistakes, you will continue to miss opportunities in your life. Stop yourself from rationalizing. Accept that you have missed opportunities because of your fear. Be angry that your fear controls you. Don’t let it control you anymore and take action the next time an opportunity arises. Consider everything in your life right now as opportunities.

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OCPD and Jobs

According to Health Guide Info and other websites, the following jobs would be well suited for people with OCPD:

  • Software, Web Programming
  • Business Planning, Strategic Management
  • Accountant, Financial Manager, Statistical Analyst
  • Editor, Proofreader, Copy Marker
  • Court, Municipal, License Clerk
  • Travel Agent
  • Corrections, Military Officer
  • Surgeon, Doctor, Health Care Worker

In my opinion, the above list is like saying “Spider Man” would be well suited for rock climbing.

Some of the world’s most successful people, like Steve Jobs, had obsessive personalities. “Madness Made Them Great” is a great article that discusses the link between OCPD and success.

Can you imagine how different the world would be if this guy had chosen to be a travel agent instead?

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