I watched Scott Stratten’s TEDx talk this morning and I hope you stop for 15 minutes to do so, as well.
If you pay attention to what those around you are dealing with, you’ll learn a lot. It’s about more than paying attention, though – you also have to take seriously the fact that if something happens to them, it can happen to you just the same.
If the well-meaning and driven people around you are struggling with the effects of never stopping, there’s a good chance that you’ll struggle with it, too. Yes, I know you think you’re different, but picking up a hot iron is going to burn your hand regardless of how strong or unique your hand is.
I struggle with stopping, too. I didn’t stop this weekend when I should have. I pushed past the point in which I needed to get somewhere and sit down, and I paid for it – I was dragging Monday and Tuesday. It was only after I checked out mid-afternoon and acted as if I were sick that I started to recharge. The result: I was able to wake up recharged and ready to show up today. Had I kept going, I would have had to stop and recover for a few days.
If you stop before you have to, you decrease the likelihood that you’ll have to stop because you have to. I share this with you because it’s the truth and it’s a hard pill to take even when it’s your own medicine.
What I particularly liked about Scott’s presentation was his awareness that it wasn’t just about his going, but the fact that he was teaching Owen the very same thing. I’ll push it one step further: he was teaching everyone who watched him that you just have to keep going.
Even more important is to realize the asymmetry of attention and imitation. The closer people are to us, the more they’ll watch what we do. The very people we’re most able to intentionally contribute to are the people who are most impacted by the unintentional consequences of our behavior. At a certain point, they walk our walk despite our talk.
Sometimes the best way to take care of your people is to stop and take care of yourself. Why wait until we can’t tell them about the value of stopping when we can show them before we have to?
Learning to stop is hard, but, at a certain point, we have to move beyond crushing it or we’ll find that’s what crushed is not our competition, but the hearts and lives of the people we love the most.
Thank you, Scott, for having the courage to show us what happens if we just keep going. I hope more of us will take the time to practice stopping before we have to.
Karri Flatla says
Reminds me of a blog post I read a long time ago … the writer was talking about the challenges of working from home with children.
She said something to the effect of:
Are your children interrupting your work?
Or is work interrupting their childhood?
Wish I could remember WHOSE blog that was … but it was a profound reminder to be aware of the precious people who live and breathe in our circles of influence.
Rob Laughter says
To the point about Scott teaching his son–as well as everyone watching–how to never stop… I believe that we learn by example more than we’d care to admit.
Example: when I got into business, I did what everyone else around me was doing, assuming that they were happy, successful, and on the right track. I hate to say it, but most of the people with whom I chose to associate were running on a giant hamster wheel of life, working their asses off and accomplishing nothing.
And so I became a hamster on a wheel. It wasn’t until I fell flat on my face that I realized I could step off of it and actually move somewhere.
That’s the same process by which Twitter is filled with people spewing nonsensical garbage: people new to the game see others doing it, assume it works, and get frustrated when it doesn’t work out. Even the “successful” Twitter users like Chris Brogan spew nonsense all day.
My answer is to both talk the talk and to walk the walk. Great leaders lead others by setting an example, not telling them what they need to do. That’s something that I’m struggling with lately.
I believe that the world needs more lectures like Scott’s. We need more people speaking from the heart rather than speaking from their heads. We need more “I believes” and fewer “I thinks” or, worse, “you musts.”
Megan Elizabeth Morris says
Don’t have any words at the moment. Very glad you posted this.
Tia Sparkles Singh says
*sigh* I was stopped in my tracks for over a week cos I couldn’t stop thinking overtime.
Thing is, physically stopping is easy it’s the MENTAL stopping that’s such a challenge.
When the brain’s on overdrive, sitting back and breathing or going for a walk is the only thing that seems to work. That, or giving in and being sick with style. After a week of resisting I allowed myself to be sick, ate junk food and watxhed 3 DVDs in a row – within hours I was feeling better!
Getting to that point of realisation often is the last straw. The big see saw of life.
Karri Flatla says
So true Tia!! It’s not our emotions or our heart that causes us pain … it’s our monkey mind!
Joe Wilner says
Thanks for sharing this information. I believe having balance in life is key to our well-being and happiness. We must learn that going and going is actually a counterproductive approach to life. We need time to recharge, and by doing so will be better off in the long when it comes to relationships, work, and any other responsibilities.
Jennifer Louden says
I think that’s the best thing that conditions of enoughness give me – a place to STOP. Love this, thank you Charlie.
Alex Blackwell says
Thanks for sharing the video, and perspective. Indeed, we can’t be all things to all people because when we do, we leave little for ourselves.
Thanks for sharing this video. I definitely need to keep this in mind, as sometimes I can go overdrive and just work, work, work and ignore friends, and leisure time. I find when I take time to relax, and enjoy life my work improves
Valencia Ray MD says
I realized 10 years ago that until we deal with the inner game, and stop running from our stories of “not good enough” and re-program our perception of life, we cannot ever find genuine contentment. After I had accomplished all of my “goals” at that time and still felt an inner void and had an inner critic that was non-stop, I realized there had to be a better way. I was right. I would suggest that we give as much attention to our “mindset” as we do our “skill set” and make the time to quiet down and take care of our “self” a priority. It is not either/or; it’s both in order to live an abundant WHOLE life.
Man I saw this video and I was like WOW! I went ahead and shared it with as many people as I could.
Scott really made a great point, and I think people are going to listen. If they don’t…they’ll eventually be forced to by life.
Mark Taylor @Cheap Hoodies says
@Tia Sparkles Singh, I agree with your comment, I also believe realisation is often the last straw in my opinion.
However, I found this video interesting – I watched this video several times! I truly love this, I think people should watch this! I will recommend this video to people :).. thank you for this great post!
I loved this video!
In the last year, I have made it a point NOT to be on the computer all day & night anymore. I’m on in the morning for several hours, then may pop in during the afternoon or evening IF there’s nothing going on…like everyone is gone, or my daughter is busy with homework, etc….
I agree the mental activity is the hardest to stop!
@tia sparkles….When I go for my walks, it actually revs up my mind. My thoughts go into overdrive and I often forget what I was thinking before I get home! I had no way to keep track of ideas while walking. I’m going to start using the recording feature on my Blackberry to do that.
This is so true. Where I struggle with it is when my coworkers won’t allow me to stop. I desperately needed to at least slow down and sometimes stop last year and was penalized for it. I got a bad review with the company because I wouldn’t go and go. And then when I got so sick I couldn’t get out of bed, I still had people calling me to do things for work. They couldn’t even wait a few days for me to get better.
So it’s not just about each of us stopping, it’s about allowing those around us to stop, too.
Karri Flatla says
K-em, I HAD to reply to your comment …
Please start saying “no” when it feels like you should. I ache for this situation and have been there myself.
Work can wait. There will always be MORE work to do.
Life can’t wait.
Take care of yourself.
Satya Colombo says
This is so true, and so relevant. This is the Production vs. Production Capability that Stephen Covey talked about in “7 habits” 20 years back – why aren’t more people talking about this now…?
Don’t kill the goose in the process of getting at those golden eggs! Reckon more people will be talking about this now…
That video was crazy inspirational. I think I shed a tear or two…
Archan Mehta says
Great post, Charlie, as usual.
Great martial artists know instinctively when it is time to stop.
In one of his movies, Bruce Lee stops right in the middle of a fight.
Bruce takes time out to sit still and meditate.
Once relaxed, Lee regains his energy and attacks his opponents with focus.
One by one, Lee cuts them down to size, like a lazer beam which cuts through an object right down to the bone.
Unlike machines, we are organic and need to pull away every once in a while.
Try to schedule that time into your daily routine and also take unscheduled breaks and you should be fine.
I know because that’s what works for me too. Have a nice day and cheers.