Why you need to pause
There are no permanent, inexhaustible sources of energy. Even the sun, the great star of our solar system is a dwindling resource…at least according to scientists. In a similar fashion, as human beings, it is impossible to sustain passion in the long run. It simply doesn’t function on autopilot perpetually. Eventually, we get tired, distracted, or burnt out.
For some reason, we are either oblivious to this or simply refuse to acknowledge it as a fundamental fact about life. The charged highs of starting new things and the euphoria of completion/victory are always on one side of a period of meh. The very ordinary, mundane transition from day to day where nothing remotely interesting or spectacular happens.
It is in this “in-between” that we invariably find ourselves maxed out on motivation and energy. This is where we most often throw in the towel; usually, in search of the next new thing to excite us for another 2–4 weeks. In the end, we are like addicts, sort of going on thrill-seeking journeys from one high to another, leaving behind a string of “arrested developments”.
I don’t think we were ever designed for long-haul flights. We need regular pauses not just to review, but also to reconfigure, recalibrate, and refuel. For the racing fans, think of it as a pit stop -the uncomfortable, possibly painful, process of slowing down so that we can go faster and farther.
We need to do it often, and it needs to be scheduled. It applies to all facets of our lives. Our physiological design makes sure that we eat when we need to. No normal people are fully functional on last week’s lunch. This is the system we must mirror in other areas of life.
It is especially important because we are not as sensitive to the signals — either because we never developed the capacity to read them in the first place, or we have unlearned them over time. There might be seasons when emergency interventions are required, but this shouldn’t be the case all the time.
The other important thing to note is what happens during the pause. It is often a good time to take another look at the hypothetical map, to remind yourself of where you are going and why. There are big W whys and small w whys. Why is existential. The whys are more moment by moment, but they still matter a great deal.
Recesses can help you remember Why or why.
With the rest and clarity typically comes energy for the next lap. They help you deal with the ordinariness of the in-between.
When was the last time you scheduled a pause?