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Avoiding Pain vs Earned Breaks

As much as I harp on productivity and working hard, I recognize that everyone needs breaks. For those who are stuck in jobs they completely despise, it is even more imperative to take ample breaks. With discipline, the frequency and type of breaks can be reduced, but the fact remains that everyone needs a little time for their own stimulation or distraction every now and then. However, I do think there is a vast difference between taking breaks to escape from pain versus earned breaks that are the result of attained goals.

Make the Pain Stop!

When studying or working, many people (at some points myself included) want to take a break and watch some television, a movie, or play some video games in an effort to escape the pain that hard work causes.

This is how manageable amounts of work go unfinished and people have trouble getting things done the way they should. Introspection of these events after the fact usually shows a clearer picture – the studying or the work was hard and the stimulation from media sources was a great way to escape the mental pain that it caused.

From an evolutionary perspective, there might be a number of benefits in avoiding intense mental or physical strain that comes with studying and working. You will definitely burn fewer calories watching television than you would employing your brain to function for extended periods of time, so there is ample reason to believe your genetics prompt you to take these types of “breaks” (more like escapes). Of course, burning fewer calories has historically been a good thing for humans.

Earning Your Rest

I would consider earning your rest to be a decision of a higher consciousness. When I say earned breaks, I mean setting a specific goal that can only be attained through your work or studying, which will allow you to take a break, but only after a high threshold has been reached. This doesn’t have to mean rewarding yourself when you are successful, but rather, study or work X amount for many hours before taking only a Y minute break.

Another important caveat about breaks is what you do with this time. Try to incorporate breaks that are far more memorable and life changing rather than watching television shows, movies, or playing video games. Of course, the odd TV show or movie will not hurt, but find other things too.

For example, I made a deal with myself that if I was able to meet a certain monetary goal with my business for the past month, I would treat myself to something crazy – sky diving. Luckily, I earned my break and it was more than worth it!

Earning Something is Far More Enjoyable

When you earn the breaks that you take from working hard, they become far more enjoyable as well. Next time you have the desire to put your work aside and watch a quick TV show, opt to keep pushing through the pain, build your willpower muscle, and find some rest that can be totally life changing.

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by Mans Denton

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my article. I'm Austin, TX based and I love the Paleo diet, meditation, proper fitness, and entrepreneurship. If you want to know more, check out the About THM Page

17 comments… add one

  1. Dude, not going to lie that sky-diving looks amazing

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    1. It was super amazing! If you have never done it, try it out for sure. At least once in your life!

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  2. The thing that resonated with me most is the actual types of breaks you take. There is no reason to consider watching TV a break. My god, that is like the worst possible thing you could do – that is a punishment

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    1. Other than “Game of Thrones” and a few other shows, I agree. Most of the stuff on TV is abhorrent!

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  3. Dude, that quote is amazing. “No rest is worth anything except the rest that is earned.”

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    1. Glad you like it. As a body builder yourself, I’m not surprised! :)

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  4. What would you really recommend for getting this type of thing done?

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    1. Well, as one of the members has already mentioned, it is a great idea to write things down and see where you land. Then try to push yourself every time a little bit further. This will eventually make you better and provide you with a much more reasonable opportunity to take an earned break

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  5. I noticed that when I write these types of things down, I can be far more productive. For example, I’ll write down my goals that are realistic based on the amount of work I can normally do. Then I just push myself a little bit more and a little bit more. Eventually I get a ton better, but the point is that I never allow myself to watch any show or anything like that without first getting the work done. Way too many people just do work, but never really focus on what they are doing.

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    1. This seems a little bit strict. I mean, you’re losing efficiency by writing everything out and talking about all that stuff

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      1. It doesn’t take that long. In the long-run I make out much better and the sense of accomplishment is huge.

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  6. Not only is it nicer to actually get more work done, but it feels so much better too. After I finish a project or something along those lines, I am sooooo much happier and fulfilled. Seriously, it’s like a high almost.

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    1. Agreed! Sometimes it is easy to succumb to the easy way out (i.e: stimulation), but it is almost always more powerful when you don’t.

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  7. Yeah, it is hard to know when I am just being lazy or a genuinely earned a break

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    1. Absolutely, Marc. If you aren’t focused on this, you are bound to run into trouble at some point or another.

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  8. This is exactly what the highest tiered professionals in any industry do. Work insanely hard and then they produce. Then they rest.

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    1. Agreed. I’ve had some interaction with professional athletes. When they are in the moment, they take it to an extreme level. When they aren’t – it’s so much more relaxed!

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