Can you overpower burnout?

If you push yourself hard enough, and then push yourself harder, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. Those who try pushing as hard as possible and then give up, have just proven that if you don’t push through the pain, you’ll never accomplish anything. That’s a common motivational message. I don’t really buy it.

I know that if I push too hard, I will eventually find myself all but forced to give up, which means I’ll end up in the same situation as before or even worse, and now without any motivation or hope to change. I know that because I’ve experienced it — many times.

What I do not yet have any reason to believe is the hype which says that simply trying even harder and then even harder again, or leaving yourself without any other options, solves the problem. I’ve gotten inspired to enact such advice too many times to count, and it’s never been anything but a disaster. Maybe it works for other people; I doubt it, but I can’t say for sure.

Sleep three hours one night, without any naps the next day, and with a little coffee you’ll probably be miserable but functional. Do it a few days in a row and you won’t be yourself at all. Try to make it your new normal and (assuming you find a way to avoid just giving up) you’re probably going to end up in the hospital before long.

The examples could be multiplied. Trying harder is not the way to succeed. It’s just not. Consistency is the trick. Slow and steady really is the winner when it comes to real life. Sometimes circumstances take the choice away from us, but whenever we have the choice, we should choose the small, frequent, sustained habit rather than an immense effort that cannot last.

Getting good at this one thing makes so many amazing possibilities attainable that would otherwise be unimaginable. This is the way.

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