burnout, life, self-improvement

Are You Driven? Here’s a Reminder to Slow Up

There are those of us who are incessantly driven.

Driven for what?

Whatever the next shiny thing there is. No other explanation.

And when we latch onto something, it’s like this addictive nature seizes us and consumes every molecule within. A flame burning brightly long after the lights go out at night.

Then the wall approaches. It’s called burnout.

Doesn’t matter if it’s work or play, it approaches hard and fast.

Sometimes we see it coming, others not so much until…splat!

Sprawled out on the face of the wall with nothing left. Not a drop of life or enthusiasm mingles in our members for whatever it was that caused us to go hard and fast at it.

It could take a few years, but normally burnout comes quicker to us than most. All because we didn’t pace ourselves.

And the act of pacing ourselves is not part of the vocabulary. Why should it be?

We reason that we’ll be the one who sets a record, outperforms, excels, and shows everyone how to do it in the shortest time ever.

It’s easy to lose sight of a work / life balance.

Yet, that’s the problem. No one ever teaches us to slow up and how to relax.

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Work / life balance is a foreign concept. Why? If we slow up, we’ll lose out…we won’t excel…we’ll fail for sure…we’ll miss the mark…and, who has ever relaxed and succeeded?

If you haven’t figured out how to relax, slow up, and take time to take care of yourself, you’ll wind up burned out to the point that you’ll hate the very thing you love right now.

Burned out to the point that just the thought of putting any further effort into the thing that consumed you makes you physically ill. And by the time you get to that point, unless you make some major shifts in the thinking and change how to go about it (usually our work), the best medicine is it to quit and do something else.

The very thing we need is the very thing we’re afraid of, at least on the surface.

We need to relax. We need to pick up a hobby that causes us to lose time, and yet refreshes us after we come up for air. We need to do nothing else but listen to a good comedian make us laugh.

Laugh? Yes, laugh.

Kids laugh about 300 times per day. Us, at serious adulthood? We might eke out a laugh 3, and if you’re lucky, 5 times a day.

Where’d we go wrong?

Just learning how to laugh again was tough. I’m not talking about a fake giggle when the boss or a coworker makes a crude or stupid joke that no way in the world we’d laugh to, but we do because we want to fit in and be accepted; all because we’re afraid of losing our job or won’t get that promotion.

What if we are on this serious burnout pace because of not just fear we won’t succeed, or won’t look good, or won’t excel, but of death.

I write and speak about living life to the full, and being self-aware because we need to remember our days are short. I preach we don’t have all the time in the world and we don’t have a promise that we’ll wake up in the morning.

Yet that very thought scares the crap outta me and I smash the gas peddle through the floorboard on just about everything I do or am involved in…not to mention the addictive nature I have.

In all of this, there’s a case of fearing not getting in enough time to get stuff done and accomplished, all because of the fear of dying…deep down…it’s there, it’s always there.

What a paradox though? To go at something so hard without a break, you can burnout earlier than you should and deal with sending yourself to an early grave with stress, lack of sleep (because we’re staying awake all night doing whatever we’re consumed with), and more stress.

If we could pace ourselves, slow up, and learn how to just be without being driven so hard, life would ease up on us and gives a few more days to get stuff done.

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Takeaway

At this point, it seems a bit contrived or overdone or oversaid, not to mention oversimplified…and that is to relax.

It’s not simple to teach, preach, or even figure out when your gears are configured for fast and faster…all the stinking time(!), but it can be done.

To actually slow up and enjoy the fruit of your labor. That means making an investment in yourself and getting into a hobby you think you might like.

It means maybe, just maybe, finally take that trip you’ve always dreamed about.

It means unplugging the devices to sit and watch the clouds drift by and look at all the shapes you see morph into others.

It means taking a little break today, to breathe, to reflect on all you are grateful for, and release some endorphins into your system by laughing out loud.

It means that when you do find a way to slow up, relax, and laugh (even at yourself!), you’ll discover that life isn’t the drudgery it once was.


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Posted by Christian Martin Jr.