Too often I hear people refer to rest as if it’s only for the sick. Suggesting rest as a term of defeat or a 4-letter curse word. The importance of rest to enhance your stamina and perseverance is too often underrated, simply because many of us are taught to rest only when we are done rather than to rest along the way to fuel the momentum to our ends and goals.
I’ve listened to many motivational teachers over the years, especially in business trainings and seminars. Sayings I’ve heard most often repeated are “You can rest when you’re dead,” “Hustle is 24/7,” and one that makes me giggle the most is “Suffer now or suffer later.” If the only path towards your dreams is suffering, no wonder so many people are terrified of failure and going after their dreams. Now I’m not against motavation. I just think we may have been hammering it a little too hard.
I’ve found in reflecting on my successes that I’ve gotten where I am by being patient with my goals and hanging in there during the journey. The times I have tried the hustle approach, I have either run out of steam or crashed and burned. It took me a much longer time to get back up than if I would have learned better rest and balance along the way. Every time I tried to push my way to to my goals, I was ignoring the signals coming from my body, mind, and spirit. A few times my health even crashed to a scary place from too much hustle and grind.
The message I would like you to consider is taking care of your body, health, and mind to help you rise to your successes and goals. We have many successes and failures in life. At least if one grind doesn’t work out, you didn’t pay for it with your health and sanity. Every grind doesn’t pay off the way we may have planned. You can recoup and keep moving better when you have rest and balance added to your journey. If you fail or fall, it’s a bit easier to get up rather than experience much suffering and defeat.
Here is an example. Let’s say you want to drive a long distance trip to an exciting destination. Before you arrive, you are most likely going to stop for gas, stretch your legs, and maybe get some sleep. If you try to drive straight through the trip with no rest or refueling, you certainly can increase your chances of danger. Studies have shown if you drive long hours without sleep, you deprive yourself of your mental clarity, possibly causing a wreck or falling asleep at the wheel. Also, how far will your transportation go without the fuel? Just like pushing your vehicle too far and breaking down, you can push your body and health to the point of breaking down.
I’ve learned when I incorporate more rest and balance in my life and activities, I engage with much better clarity and momentum. I last in the long hauls better. Valuing my own reserves for fueling helps me set the boundaries I need to succeed to the end. I see so many people running out of steam trying to push through the expectations. Rather than including rest and restoration, they burn their adrenals, causing stress, high blood pressure, and many negative health effects. Once this has taken place for a period of time, coming back from negative health can be a harder journey, often causing even more major problems.
As another old saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It may be better phrased as “All work and no play makes Jack a tired, sick boy.” I think the larger message is that there seems to be a time and place for everything. Balance can keep you from tipping your scales towards negative consequences. Even athletes understand the power of nutrition and balance to reach their heights. Work should be no different.
Perhaps a good reminder to keep you moving forward with greater balance is to think to yourself, The harder I work, the harder I need to rest— and the less you have to try to force yourself to do things your body and mind are simultaneously resisting. Learn to listen to your internal navigation system. It is designed to help you. Allow rest to launch you to better heights. Be an ally to yourself, not an enemy.