Making time for stillness is crucial not only for finding happiness as a human being but also, for all you recovering workaholics out there, for being a more effective professional. It turns out that making time for yourself outside of work translates well into being more effective at work.
Americans have always prided themselves in their unrivaled work ethic, their can-do spirit, their ambition, and their lack of sleep to prove how dedicated they are to their career. I think this is short-sighted and counterproductive. Embracing a more “can-don’t” ethic can work wonders for one’s awareness, effectiveness, and happiness. A rested, contented individual is more likely to be a better worker, a better spouse and parent, a better person. Contrarily, one who is overworked and exhausted is more likely to be an ineffective worker and unhappy person.
There is no need to feel guilty when not working 12 to 15-hour days or not working every weekend. Ironically, some of your best insights and genius comes directly from the space you create outside of work. How many of us have stumbled on game-changing ideas while in the shower, or during a walk, or while gardening or meditating? Stillness sharpens one’s focus, clear-headedness, mental flexibility, presence, patience, judgment, and wisdom. Stillness is a fertile breeding ground for future success.
Winston Churchill was once asked, “Sir, to what do you attribute your success in life?” Churchill replied, “Conservation of energy. Never stand up when you can sit down, and never sit down when you can lie down.” Churchill found time to read, paint, feed his fish, walk around his country estate, take in the air and muse on his front porch, write for leisure, and recite poetry to himself. Churchill, even while tasked with saving Britain from Nazi attack and helping save the world from Nazi domination, saw the necessity of maintaining his hobbies and routines to be a more effective leader. Cultivating stillness is essential for us as well.
Get enough rest and sleep. Participate in hobbies that fulfill and enrich you. Spend precious time with friends and family. As they say before a flight, put your mask on before putting a mask on others. You are no good use to yourself or others if you allow yourself to be ravaged by overexertion and exhaustion. I think you will find that making time and space for rest, stillness, silence, and fulfilling personal endeavors will create positive ripple effects at work, at home, and within.