I know I'm not alone on this one. Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed by the constant demand to be better; to achieve more – to be more. The feeling is so debilitating sometimes l can hardly breathe.
There have been times when I've been so obsessed with learning and working that I'd go to bed after 18 straight hours of it, feeling guilty I hadn't done enough. Even a ‘mild' heart attack didn't slow me down. Stupid, I know.
One of my favourite thinkers and online entrepreneurs, Chase Reeves, says,” You can only do what you can do!” My long-time mentor, Ken Fife, told me, “Sometimes the most productive thing you can do all day is think. Nothing more; just think.”
I sometimes practised Ken's advice; on occasion, escaping the office to collect my thoughts and gather ideas on long drives in the country. There was one particular week where I drove to a lake over two hours from the city every day. On those beautiful Spring days with the windows down and the sunroof open, my mind was completely relaxed, and ideas flowed without effort or conscious thought. Recording these on a mini tape recorder, I then spent the rest of the day by the lake in that glorious sunshine, documenting my recordings and formulating plans. I remember thinking this is how work should be.
Now with over 30 years of hard work under my belt (some of it hanging over my belt), I can say with conviction that these two men were right. We weren't designed to run marathons. Sprints, though, are quite doable. When punctuated by periods of peaceful relaxation, these sprints form a powerhouse of enjoyable productivity. You achieve balance.
Remember too, you can't know everything, and you'll never do everything because both are impossible. Impossible is for movies; not life. Sure, you can surprise yourself sometimes with amazing feats of accomplishment but trying to court the impossible on a daily basis is a recipe for frustration and anxiety.
To be truly successful you must practice the art of doing nothing. For without rest, there is no action. Without peace, there's no noise and without the time and space to just BE there a no life.
So stop. Do nothing for a while. Your work will still be there for you when you return. In fact, your success in life depends on it.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope we get to hang out more in the future. And in the meantime, please feel free to share your own experiences. You can also email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I respond to all emails.
Disclaimer: I'm not a psychologist and I'm not a financial advisor's elbow. This material doesn't constitute financial advice but rather a collection of personal opinions, based on my own experiences.
Also published on Medium.