an argument for telling the striving mind + culture to go F&*K itself.
From experience I know Balance and Intuition are just as good of motivators as Discipline and Negative Self-talk.
But it's difficult to believe, until you finally surrender.
You don’t need to work harder, you need to work smarter.
Balance and Intuition extract a wisdom much deeper than force or aggression ever will.
It took me a long time to arrive at an understanding of this: I didn’t need to whip myself into shape, my internal voice didn’t need to be a drill sergeant training naive, incoming recruits.
I used to expend so much energy trying to contort myself into success... achievement… perfection.
And I believed the only way to get there, the only way perfection could be reached, was through scrutinous discipline.
It wouldn’t be enough to call attention to the indoctrination of overwork in this country; no, there’s more subtlety to it than that.
It’s in the failure of our culture to model the difference between growing pains: an uncomfortability which comes from confronting our fears, the sacrifices we make to cross thresholds of ourselves, and the pursuit of fulfilling our potential (i.e. vulnerability) and the rampant exertion of our physical and mental capacity: letting the striving mind run loose without an intentional why behind it to ground our actions.
In this second frame of mind, it’s easy to allow the channel between body and intuition to go numb. Here, we operate from a place of I've got to do this, rather than a place of this step will be effective. This frame of mind is where we begin to compromise our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Just because you’re striving, doesn’t mean you’re more effective, better, or getting anywhere faster.
As we chase it, is there an underlying belief that with effort - however much, at whatever expense - it will all be worth it?
It’s a fallacy.
What awaits under this paradigm of success is a cyclical loop of burnout and striving, towards an elusive finish line; which once we cross, we’re too depleted to enjoy.
What they don’t teach us here, what I never learned until I left the U.S. for Europe, was that leisure doesn’t equate laziness.
I wasn’t aware there was a way to aggressively pursue your passion without significant hardship - or pain even. It was as though the deprivation was the street-cred to success.
I believed my extreme effort was bound to bolster the mojo, the experience, the wisdom, the resume….. necessary to thrive..
But deprivation + extreme striving is often desperation disguised.
If you believe you’re capable of something, you do not need to place yourself under ultimatums, extreme conditions, or joy-sucking restrictions to achieve it.
You've got to be on the same team as you. So let the rules you've created go.
We've got to work with ourselves, rather than against ourselves to achieve our dreams.
Do you have a story or experience with overwork, burnout, or striving for perfection? Write and share your thoughts with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below. XO