As business owners, mothers, fathers, employees, athletes, and just humans in general we thrive on progress. We are at our most frustrated when we are stuck, spinning our wheels, treading water, moving fast but going no where.
But, because we seek progress, productivity, growth, we keep pushing. Rest is not an option. We are adamantly opposed to it in our most stuck times. We refuse it under our most stressful circumstances until disaster inevitably strikes. Why would we rest when the goal is always more, higher, further? How would rest further us? How can stopping help us move forward?
In our very own bodies is evidence of how rest is not only helpful to but equal to progress and productivity. It’s not the only step, and it can’t grow us alone, but it is an essential step, a step we cannot afford to skip but always seem to see as unnecessary, and thus we do.
When an athlete seeks muscle growth, he must first stretch and tear his muscles. He lifts weights, pushes his body up against gravity, challenges the forces of the earth until the fibers that make up his muscles are torn to the point of soreness.
And then he rests.
He relentlessly pursues, and then he rests.
In rest, we rebuild. In rest, we repair. There can be no growth without rest.
I just got back from a “vacation” of sorts visiting Michael in his new state of residence, and this morning, my first morning “back to the grind” as we youngins say, I went for a run by the lake and thought ironically about rest.
For the past few months, I have felt pressure from no one other than myself to create, write, make, sell. I have felt like I was running—sprinting— but never moving. One idea would grab me, then another, then I’d look down at my to-do list and see 10 new things right next to the 15 old things.
I thought the solution was just to keep at it day in and night out. Go to my table and pick up the paintbrush. Sit at my desk and stare at my laptop until the words came out. Relentless pursuit, this had to be the answer.
It never occurred to me to just rest. The idea of slowing down was preposterous. I didn’t deserve a break. I had to keep going until… until what, though? At what point would I deem myself worthy of rest?
Probably no time soon enough.
So I am resting.
Resting does not mean stopping, though. It means rebuilding and repairing the damage done from hard, honest work. It means shifting my focus and reprioritizing. It does not mean the relentless pursuit is over. It means it is preparing to begin anew. It does not mean less momentum. It means an opportunity to gather more. Rest does not mean you are weak. It means you are strong enough to honor yourself in all your phases of growth.
Rest is the zenith of creativity.