Conquer; But First A Break

NL 148 SpaceX DSCVR The Brilliant Beast Blog.jpg
The utmost control. Falcon 9 to deep space. photo credit SpaceX

Control is increased with ample rest.

Control is lessened with insufficient rest.

You will rarely get praise or encouragement for resting. As a matter of fact, it’s more likely that you’ll get condescending or patronizing comments from friends, family, coworkers, or your boss, for taking a break after working only a short period of time.

Pay them no heed. Listen instead to Benjamin Franklin, master of accomplishment: “He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.”

Apply this to physical control as well as mental and emotional control. A rested mind and body will empower you with more control over your muscular actions, your words, and even your thoughts. Emotions become smaller in scale and manageable when you have the energy to face difficulties. Reactions that you thought automatic are suddenly under your command.

Resting is simple. The act of resting can take many forms: sleeping, sitting, laying down, closing the eyes, relaxing, breathing deeply into the belly, loosening the muscles, mobilizing joints. We all know how to rest. But resting so is often trivialized and forgotten.

Realize that if you want to have better results in the end, rest is critical. You may not receive praise for taking rest. But the same people who criticize you for taking a break will also be the ones to give praise for the quality of your accomplishment made better through rest.

It is just as important to your performance to fully rest as it is to give full effort. Rest involves a good night’s sleep, but you can also gain tremendous recharge from periodically resting throughout the day.

Make it a point to stop your efforts before fatigue. Switch off while you are still strong, just past your maximum output, before non-productive tiredness sets in. For example, if you are trying to convince someone of your point of view, to win them over to your side of a tough argument, push the discussion to an intense point of disagreement, taking it further and further though you know it won’t go anywhere at the moment. Just as you or the other person is about to boil over,  cease your fire. Change the subject. Take a break and use humor to relax the mood, and give perspective to the differences you have. Things are not so serious. Once rested, you’ll find you can continue at full force. Your colleague, after the lull, will have his defenses down. Your opinions will seem less of a threat. The result will be greater and more impactful than if you were to endlessly press forward in an exhausted state. Do this repeatedly, over hours, days, weeks, for as long as you must until you reach your goal of winning him over.

The point is that giving it a break allows you some slack. You gain time and energy to build up another set of counterargument and creative problem solving. Pulling back also gives your colleague the impression that you are giving way. It puts him at ease, and loosens his control of the situation and ultimately disorients him.

Remember the simple lesson: you have more control in a rested state. With control comes precision. You will accomplish your tasks and handle interactions with ease, through use of well-aimed efforts and words. You eliminate unnecessary expenditure. The saved energy allows you to assess situations with greater clarity as they change, giving you the advantage of reorganizing efforts as needed. Risk diminishes because you can deftly position yourself for oncoming difficulties or possibilities.

Naturally, it will take less time and less effort to clear a yard of debris, or execute a difficult assignment, with periods of rest. You will have projects done without going in circles. Email sorting will become a neat, packaged task rather than a harrowing maelstrom. And in the end, you will have accomplished more with less work.

Finally, think of the effective tug-of-war team. The game is almost always initiated amongst a group of people not trained in any sport together. They’re merely gathered together for a work event or special reason. However, one team always wins. More often than not, the team that cooperates, pulls in unison, and uses a rhythm of pull and relax is the team that wins. This is because giving slack between pulls allows a moment of rest. Each member can quickly readjust their footing, their grip, and their posture in that moment to exert maximal power. Their efforts create a series of short bursts that destroy the sustained, ever weakening pull by the other team. They will never meet defeat by a team that has no organized effort.

Control is of the utmost importance in delivering effective action. It will enable you to build the world you intend. And rest is the fertile ground from which control regenerates.

Live powerfully,

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