Resting is the new Cocaine.

resting guy

It struck me a few days ago. I felt so good. There was a happy buoyancy inside me. No matter
where I turned my eye I had this positive lift inside my skull, my skin, my everything. What was
going on? It felt indeed like having a buzz on from a couple of pints or maybe even some other
form of chemical assistance. But the fact was that after weeks of hard work and one week of play I
had actually done nothing at all for over a week now. I had eaten well, slept well, even exercised
almost every day, had snuck in a meditation twice and now it felt like I was on drugs!

I noticed three things that made it feel that way:

  • I felt enveloped in a general state of wellbeing. Simply feeling good, like how leaning back in a very
    comfortable luxury chair can feel good. There was an absence of absence. I lacked nothing. I was
    not craving for x, y or z that once attained would make me feel better. All was well, exactly as is. And even if it changed it would be alright.
  • I was infatuated with my fellow creatures on earth. I loved my grass, my appletree, my neighbours,
    even the kids yelling in the background. They were all worthy inhabitants of the same universe I
    was in that day and I was willing, even eager, to connect with them and share the bliss of existence.
  • I had self-confidence. Perhaps self-efficacy is an even better word. A belief that if I undertook
    something it would be a success. A belief that I could make a difference. A belief that my extended
    will would lead to things well done.

So where did it come from? Let’s start by looking at what state it replaced. When you are in the business of running workshops as I am, three or four full day sessions a week is actually a bit much. Add to that a bit of intercontinental air travel and you quickly get used to a feeling of not-being-rested. Do that for a number of weeks in a row while you still want to partake of life a bit in the weekends and you start to know yourself as someone who will catch-up up on rest later. The bravado of slogans like there will be time enough to sleep when you are dead, combined with still functioning reasonably well (albeit not at peak level) and of course not liking to say no to clients make you plod on and think of that as business as usual. Because we humans can get used to anything.

And the beauty of it all is that one of the workshops I was running in that period was for the Energy Project where we discuss the fallacy of accepting this fatigue paradigm and instead emphasise that our work culture needs to rediscover the value of renewal, in short of making sure you are rested in order to perform at your optimum. And here O’ irony, I had finally discovered the truth in that message. That there is a rested state that is so valuable and powerful that it would be silly to operate too long from any other state. How true is the stuff I teach I thought, now only to live by it.

So renewal is the new drug. Getting yourself up on a high. Your highest performance state. We need to get better at this drug. Make it acceptable, create good supply lines, exchange different ways of using it, push each other to better ways of partaking of it. Now it is a drug with side-effects. Inverse to the other kind of drugs, renewal has as side-effects improved performance, improved problem solving, improved relationships, improved creativity. The key is to stop being a binge user. Stop waiting for weeks and just plodding along before taking a vacation and binging on the drug. No, instead, make the drug a part of your every day, your working routine even. Let’s get used to being high every day. Let’s get used to being our best every day. Let’s make our (working) cultures legitimise this drug. Let us not inadvertently reward the plodders with admiration for plodding on hour after hour, week after week, running themselves and the quality of their work into the ground. Let us not frown when someone goes for a long walk, or meditates, turbo-naps or does yoga at work. It is the drug we need more of. Let’s not settle for less ever again.

The warning signs on the packages of the new drug of course should be, you’ll feel better about yourself, about others and about what you can achieve.

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