Reflection of the Day 1/30/2015. I haven’t shared one of these reflections in a couple of weeks and feels good to be back. Today’s reflection focuses on the importance of proper sleep, nourishment and relaxation as non-negotiables for our eventual success.
There are popular sentiments about sleep being for the dead, weak and lazy, about the need to grind hard and all other manner of extreme behavior in order to attain this thing called success. Even though success looks different to each and every one of us, many of us have bought into this same hype that we must deprive ourselves of sleep, water, nourishing food, breaks, relaxation and the like in order to chase and achieve success. This is hogwash and could be further from the truth. In fact, it may very well be the things that we are doing (or not doing) that are keeping us from the success that we so desire. I used to be of this same mindset until I learned better the hard way.
Our bodies are finely tuned machines that rely on homeostasis to keep all of our body systems in balance and in a state of stability. It is in the balance and stability that our bodies function optimally- allowing us – our spirits- to perform our daily functions in life with an eye towards productivity and progress. Homeostasis is maintained in our bodies when we nourish ourselves properly, hydrate, relax, connect and sleep for at least 6-8 hours a night so that body has a chance to reset itself in preparation for the next day and the next battle. When we buy into popular convention that we must deprive ourselves of our basic nourishment to attain success, we are setting ourselves up for the varying types of breakdowns that will eventually attribute to the failures that we do not want to experience in the first place. When your body doesn’t want to be bothered with the pace anymore, it will shut itself down when you won’t.
The belief around grinding more and sleeping less to get more done and guarantee success is a hallmark belief of the entrepreneurial/creator/maker world, and many of us pride ourselves on how little of these basic life affirming things that we do, as if we will get some award for our extreme dedication to our dreams. What we are not realizing is that the more we engage these type of attitudes, habits and behaviors, the more we are breaking down the vessels that we need in order to get the work done. Many of us fail to realize that our ability to be productive (which attributes to success)- and to do our work with joy and ease is heavily influenced not just by mindset but the physiological and physical well-being of our minds & bodies.
Really- how productive and insightful are we on three hours of sleep? Would you want to get on a plane flown by a pilot who slept for only 2 hours the night before, was stressed out and only ate half a candy bar for breakfast? Yeah–me neither.
This is not to say that we will not have to sometimes pull all nighters and bust our backsides to get work done, or that our schedules have to be conventional schedules that do not work with the rhythms in which we work. What I am saying is that success does not happen merely because we ignore our basic needs in an attempt to work longer and harder. We are not guaranteed success by choosing to forgo sleep to work on projects and deadlines.