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Cut Yourself Some Slack
I was working with a friend today, or rather trying to. By 3pm, it was obvious that we were not getting much, and by "much" I mean anything, done.
We decided to call it a day. We cancelled Tuesday. Wrote it off. Struck it from the calendar, like it never existed, like MiniTrue.
Sometimes that's just how things are. And there's no point fighting. All life has cycles. The very fundamental property of matter is wavelike, or if you like, cycles. We think we are particles forever being hurtled around a particle accelerator with massive energy, but that always ends up with a crash.
We are also waves. We have peaks and troughs. We have night and day. We have seasons. It can't always be summer. The good news is that it won't always be winter either.
Sooner or later, we realise that the dawn will break.
That spring will return.
And when we know this, we can prepare for the harvest by being at peace with the night. We prepared for this winter by paying our dues in the summer. That's what summer is for. No point trying to force the harvest when the ground is dead.
Productivity porn can get very tiring. It's tiring because, frankly, it's not recognising the reality of life, which is that inconveniences occur, that accidents happen and that some days, you just can't be bothered, you don't have the energy, you don't have the fight.
It's not even a question of forgiving yourself. So long as you're not in the habit of beating yourself up in the first place, so if we do that, we must stop. It's as pointless as wondering why we can't stay up all night, every night.
The important thing to recognise is that it is a cycle, and that the trough isn't permanent, that the valley isn't endless and that you will climb the next mountain. You will crest the summit. You will see the glorious vista again. You can't see it without going through the valley first, can you? It's not the same down here.
Some of us fear that the valley is endless. But it's only endless if we stop. It’s not endless if we rest.
So the next time you find yourself in the middle of your night doubting yourself, in the middle of a work day, wondering where the last couple of hours went without you having accomplished a single useful thing, know that it's only a waste if you stop forever. And you won't, will you? You’ll rest, the ground will rest, you’ll recover, and the ground will flower.
Recognise your cycles. Recognise your rhythms.
Work hard when you have the energy. Chill, when you don't.
Don't imagine yourself to be the greatest thing since sliced bread when things are going really well. And don't imagine yourself to be an irredeemable failure when things are not. It will pass.
Cut yourself some slack.