Energy and persistence conquer all things. — Benjamin Franklin
There is a time for work and there is a time for play and most of us forget when to apply which to what. I have not had a major vacation in over two years and I was beginning to feel the effects of not taking one. There are a lot of excuses for not taking a vacation but not one valid reason. Even a minor vacation is better than no vacation, which I reminded myself of this last weekend.
Ok, so where did all this come from? If you noticed I didn’t make an update last week because I decided I needed to take some time off. Why? Because I was burning myself out, I couldn’t think properly and both my work and life was feeling the drain on my mental capacity. I was becoming uncreative and my pessimism was approaching an all time high. I knew I needed a change.
Man does not live by work alone. In fact all work and no meaningful time off can have, and often does have, a negative effect on productivity. Mankind is a unique animal in that the brain requires a reboot on occasion. This reboot helps keep one young and alert, especially in their business dealings. Just resting is sometimes not enough to completely reboot the brain. No, what is needed is a complete change of environment, away from the home, office, demands of the job, and even the city we live in. We normally call this reboot a vacation.
So the question becomes do we really need a vacation? Let me answer that with my own actions.
I have been working on this website and writing these articles since May of 2011. However the plans for this site were established back in November of 2010. Ever since then I have been constantly thinking about this website and how I can make it better, a better experience for you and for me. The results have been positive but still lack the total essence of what I am seeking. Thus I have a long way to go on this journey I find myself traveling.
The mental strain of maintaining this type of website is exhausting. Add the fact I work a normal ten hour day at a regular job and do this work at night, you have the beginning of a burnout. So why do I do this? Why don’t I just conform to the condition most people do and become a couch potato, watching mindless television until ten at night then call it a day? The reason is I want, I need, and I crave the necessity to improve myself. I don’t know why, I just do. But you want to know something else, I really enjoy doing what I do and working the hours I work.
Life is more than just a dull routine one engages in every day. Life is meant to be lived, enjoyed, and embraced. The problem is most of us don’t have the money we need to really enjoy life the way we should so we settle for second and even third place. This attitude of accepting second best is a crime against ourselves because we deserve more out of life than just a mediocre existence.
We are told living a full and abundant life is evil and should be avoided at all cost. So I ask who is telling us this. The answer is simple: the Ivy League elitist, that’s who. Why are they telling us this? To make us feel guilty. And why do they want us to feel guilty? To control and manipulate us. It is no more complicated than that.
We are told the Earth’s resources are coming to an end and we should not enjoy life in order to save the planet. What a bunch of hogwash! The Earth is not coming to an end, not by our human hand at least. Maybe if an asteroid hits us but we as humans cannot, and will never, consume all of the resources the Earth produces. It’s not possible for humans to destroy the planet since the Earth is in a constant, never ending process of recycling.
What is limiting resources, or rather who is limiting the resources is the politician. That rascally individual we elected to Congress to make our life better. But what does he/she do instead? They make our life miserable, by imposing their will upon us. This is not the way a free society works since politicians are not our masters but rather our servants. Yeah, well not any more. These days we are at the mercy of a government who believes and enforces us to do their bidding. And we the employers of government servants permit this process to happen.
But lately we the people, at least some of us, are taking our lives back. We will not permit a government of slavery, by slavery and for slavery to control us. So I work extra hours to ensure my future.
Hard? Damn straight. Frustrating? Without a doubt. But I have a plan to control my life and I refuse to let government control me. Still it is not easy as government regulations continue to control us despite our best efforts.
I have friends and acquaintances that, after a days’ work, go home and vegetate. They watch television until bedtime and seem to do nothing productive with their lives. That is their choice but then they complain how bad things are and refuse to make an effort to improve it. I have no pity for them or their attitude. They make their choice just as I make mine.
The choices we make determine the type of life we shall live. Like my friends who choose to drink beer and watch television their life seems to be void of meaning. They put in a hard day they say, which is true they do, but they are making money for someone else not themselves. That is the difference. Quitting their day job is not the answer, same with me. I shall not quit my day job to pursue the lifestyle I want. I cannot afford to. I have bills to pay and a family to feed. But what I have to do is leverage time to my advantage so I can pursue, with the extra hours I have, the type of life I want to live. That means working extra, but in those hours I work for me and not someone else.
I could and have worked part time jobs but the basic issue returns – I am working to make money for someone else not me. I need to make extra money for me, to make my life better, to enhance my well being and not the bottom line for someone else. Therein lays the difference. I know the universe is willing and ready to provide me with abundance, but only, and this is a BIG only, I prove myself worthy of receiving the abundance. So far I haven’t.
Hence my checking account stays flat, so I continue to work extra hours with no gain in sight, and only frustration as my trusted companion. Thus after a period of time this strain plays havoc with the soul and the mind becomes saturated with negativity. But the power of rest is a marvelous thing to behold because it can, and if properly done will, wipe away the strain and frustration. Once these two items are addressed then the negativity begins to dissolve and the brain becomes empowered once again.
Yet, yet there are those, who cannot establish the difference between a need for a valid rest and just plain laziness. To these individuals they think they are doing real extra work, but in reality they only put in a minimum effort and call it work. Perhaps even to the point of leaving their options ‘open.’ I know because I had this mindset for years and I still struggle with it to this day. Especially when I see no results for my efforts. Yet I have learned that I am being sent a message, a message that tells me I am not doing things right and I better get my head on straight and figure out what I am doing wrong.
I often find myself spinning my wheels and going nowhere fast, yet I persist in my efforts to achieve the goals I have set for myself. And my goals are high for I have discovered it takes no more effort to dream big than it does to dream small. The amount of work is the same the only difference may be in the length of time one needs to achieve the goal.
You control your life and your destiny, just like I control mine. You can choose to work as much or as little as you want to. Many of us today know that in order to make ends meet we need extra income but jobs, even the part time jobs are often scarce these days. Yet in this country we can make our own employment and work for ourselves. It is not easy but it is rewarding because the effort you expend, truly expend is for yourself and not someone else.
I started this post with a quote from Ben Franklin a powerful quote from one of the founding fathers of the country. He and his peers faced difficulties that the majority of us cannot even conceive of. So his words carry weight and wisdom. However, with this particular quote I would rewrite it to say:
“A consistent work effort, supported by energy and persistence conquer all things.”
I would compare the work effort with that of running a marathon. A steady, consistent speed is far better than random bursts of speed. Pushing yourself too hard, too fast will produce burnout, despair, and misery. But a steady effort, backed by a solid plan of action is the key to achieving any goal. What good is goal achievement if you are too exhausted to enjoy the fruits of your labor?
So how do you create a better life for yourself? Easy, you begin with you. I encourage you to look deep into yourself and seek out your strengths. Then create a plan of action to put those strengths to work.
No money? You can achieve great things on a shoestring budget. I don’t even have that much of a budget yet I continue to persist and work towards the fulfillment of my dreams. My self-induced assignment is to write these words, and to encourage you to become better than you think you are. Believe in yourself and do not listen to the verbiage of the politician and bureaucrat, for they, despite their elaborate vernacular, are not your friend but rather your would-be master.
These words you are reading are free for you to think about and consider. They cost me nothing to write but, in addition to helping you, they help me believe in myself and my abilities.
I close with this: Work when it is time to work, but never underestimate the power of rest when it is time to rest. You can achieve greatness, but only if you value your time, and yourself to do so.