Welcome to Episode 059 where we discuss why should work at creating deliberate rest in your life.
Here’s what is on this week’s Podcast…
So, here’s a question for you?
When I say the word REST, what comes to your mind?
You have some reaction to that word. Possibly…
Oh I Wish
Must be nice
Not for awhile
For the lazy
Well, you’re not alone. And that was me for MOST of my life.
For those of you that don’t know my backstory, I was FORCED to learn how to rest.
To use an analogy: high performance car
• Always going 100
• Never taking a pit stop
• Little to no maintenance
• If repair = cheap / quick
• Outside of the car – immaculate but the engine was a nightmare
• RPMS in the red and Fuel running on Fumes
Finally, I took a turn marked 30 and I slowed down to 70 and crashed.
This time my high performance car was out of commission.
I had pushed it TOO hard for TOO long.
I was literally forced to learn how to rest and where the Exhaustion Cycle of Busy / Beatdown / Burnout was developed then the Energy Cycle of Rest / Refuel / Re-engage was my healing.
To hear my full story, go back to Episode 2 for all the ugly details.
Rest is a bi-polar word.
Especially for a High Performer.
As a result, one of my most popular blog posts ever was one called: Secret Shame of High Performing Professionals – we don’t know how to rest
And how do we handle rest? One or more of the four ways:
1. Minimize Rest – waste of time / I don’t need as much as everyone else
2. Avoid It At All Costs – fill our schedule so we can’t even fit it in and no one argues with the results
3. Justify Rest as Optional – too much to do / fine with the rest I get / current season
4. Fear Rest – what would I find if I slowed down – replaced? / still needed / like what I found out about myself if I slowed down and had time to really look under the hood?
I encourage you to check out the entire blog post.
I was recently give a book recommendation from a good friend, Jonathan Milligan, called Rest by the author Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. His 1st book was Distraction Addiction.
In his book, REST, Alex looks at the art and science behind rest and was a fascinating and challenging read.
He said: Many of us are interested in how to work better but few of us in how to rest better.
We view rest as a physical necessity or inconvenience
We see work and rest as binaries / complete opposites
When we define ourselves by our work, by our dedication and willingness to go the extra mile, then it’s easy to see rest as a negation of those things.
If your work is your self, when you cease to work, you cease to exist.
But it’s true.
When we think of rest as work’s opposite, we take it less seriously and even avoid it.
Rest is not work’s adversary, rest is work’s partner. They compliment and complete each other.
In the long game, You cannot work well if you don’t rest well.
We underestimate much good serious rest can do for us. And we also underestimate just how much we can do if we take rest seriously.
Two Key Quotes:
Rest is not something the world gives us. It’s NEVER a gift. It’s never been something you do when you’ve finished everything else. If you want rest, you have to take it. You have to resist the lure of busyness, make time to rest, take it seriously, and protect it from a world that is intent on stealing it.
We need to rethink the relationship between work and rest, acknowledge their intimate connection, and rediscover the role that rest can play in helping us be creative and productive. We shouldn’t regard rest as a mere physical necessity to be satisfied grudgingly; we should see it as an opportunity. When we stop and rest properly, we’re not paying a tax on creativity. We’re investing in it.
Then the research kicked in and I almost missed the gold because I was seemingly already familiar with the study.
10,000 Hours Missing Critical Element
Karl Anders Ericsson Study
• 1st, the great student didn’t just practice more than the average, they practiced more deliberately which is focused, structured, and offers clear goals and feedback; it requires paying attention to what you’re doing and observing how you can improve
• 2nd, you need a reason to keep at it, day after day.
Deliberate practice is an effortful activity that can be sustained only for a limited time each day. Practice too little and you never become world-class. Practice too much though, and you increase the odds of being struck down by injury, draining yourself mentally, or burning out.
The rhythm of their practice follows a distinctive pattern. they put in more hours per week in the practice room or playing field, but they don’t do it by making each practice longer. Instead, they have more frequent, shorter sessions each lasting bout 80-90 minutes, which half-hour breaks in between. Add these practices up, and what you do get? About four hours a day.
Ten Years / 4 hours a day by 20 hours a week (no weekends)
This study is a foundation for Malcolm Gladwell’s argument in his book, Outliers, that 10K hours of practice are required to become an expert or world class in anything.
Deliberate practice is an effortful activity that can only be sustained for a limited time each day.
You must avoid exhaustion.
The top performers:
Slept an average of an hour a day more than the average (not more per night but naps and better quality sleep)
Learned to use their leisure time more effectively or deliberately.
In the book, Rest, the author concludes:
World Class moves beyond the 10,000 hours but also…
12,500 hours of deliberate rest AND…
30,000 hours of sleep!
They were discovering the immense value of deliberate rest. They figured out early that rest is important, that some of our most creative work happens when we take the kinds of breaks that allow our unconscious minds to keep plugging away, and that we can learn to rest better.
Deliberate Rest is the partner of Deliberate Practice.
Everybody speed-reads through the discussion of sleep and leisure and argues about the ten thousand hours principle (aka: Malcom Gladwell)
Viewing weekends as a time to catch up on work and hold vacations in contempt
The most successful had been hard-charging workaholics in their youth, but while their ambitions never flagged, as they matured they learn to lean back, develop sustainable routines, and make rest an essential part of their creative lives.
They had to learn how to rest, to pay close attention to how they worked and what worked for them and what / when brought them the most energy.
They were more like athletes constantly searching for a new workout. improved pregame routine, or energizing diet that would give them an edge.
Four Realities of Deliberate Rest
1. Work and Rest are Partners
Rest is an essential component of good work. World-class musicians, Olympic athletes, writers, designers, and other accomplished and creative people alternate daily periods between intense work and concentration with long breaks.
We need to change our mindset here.
Work and Rest are not allergic to each other.
They’re not enemies or competitors.
Once we see the direct correlation and the importance of Rest to Work, we will be Deliberate with our Rest.
This is a crucial mindset we must get if we’re going to accept Deliberate Rest as a viable concept and something we’ll change in our lives.
2. Rest is Active
When I used to think of rest, I thought of it as passive activities: a nap, lying on the couch, watching sports on tv, or binge-watching a popular tv series.
Now, that’s one form of rest.
But physical activity is more restful than we expect, and mental rest is more active than we actually even realize.
For example, intense exercise helps keep the body operating at a peak and as a result keeps the mind sharp and ultimately and best of all, gives energy to do difficult work.
When I take a break which is Move the Body, Rest the Mind, I’m active. How?
I’m moving the body and allowing my mind to unplug and rest.
Again, this is a mindset that Rest is passive and lazy.
3. Rest is a Skill
“Rest turns out to be like sex or singing or running. Everyone basically knows how to do it, but with a little work and understanding, you can learn to do it a lot better.”
Deliberate Rest – beyond normal sleep that is chosen and has a purpose
It may seem counterintuitive that rest is something you have to learn how to do well. What’s simpler than rest? What is literally more effortless? The only thing more natural than resting is breathing.
Yes, breathing is natural. Yet disciplined breathing is one of the most powerful tools we have to counter stress, fear, and distraction. Learning to breathe more deeply helps athletes compete harder. It helps soldiers and sailers remain calm in battle. It helps musicians sing with great control. Its enables actors and politicians to project their voices.
Rest is the same. It’s possible to rest in ways that are challenging and rewarding, that makes you happier and healthier and literally make your mind work better.
4. Deliberate Rest Stimulates and Sustains Creativity.
The steadiness and consistency that deliberate rest enforces helps explain why those who discover it have longer creative lives.
Lives rich in both work and rest also show that long hours don’t guarantee higher productivity in creative industries.
Rest does not present one pattern that everyone should follow.
Three Ways to Implement Deliberate Rest
1. I Must Value Rest for What It Can Give to Me
It has to be a priority. It must matter to you.
2. I Must Schedule Rest
Rest doesn’t just happen unless you fall asleep out of exhaustion or your sick and just can’t going.
Michael Hyatt is famous for saying: What Gets Scheduled Gets Done
You especially must schedule Active Rest.
3. I Must Experiment with Rest
What works for me may not work for you.
Certain types of rest work for me at different times of the day or week depending on my need for energy and what will give me the needed energy
1. Answer the question: are you deliberate about rest?
2. Ask the question: what is one thing you can do today to work at deliberate rest?