The value of nothing

Yesterday was Father’s Day.

My wife and I enjoyed a riveting evening of putting the kids to bed and going to bed early. Becoming a parent creates a whole new “grid” of gratitude for the little things in life.

I haven’t been writing here as much because I’ve been catching up elsewhere.

Two books are being published in the next 60 days:

  • A book about creating great offers (The Offer Design Guidebook)
  • A book about sales & influence (Learning to Sell)

The sales book has been a massive project. But that’s not what I’m writing to you about right now. Two weeks ago I spent a full week off-grid. It’s been several years since I’ve gone fully off-grid for any amount of time and I was nervous to do it.

High performers love to perform.

It’s in your DNA.

The risky part: once you go off, how do you know you can turn it all “back on?” To me, there’s always that risk. Staying at high-octane is easier because it feels normal. This is counterintuitive: what makes us really fulfilled is oftentimes contrast. It’s not the steady state of “high performance” like I thought it was — it’s the balancing act of fully on and fully off.

In “The Power of Full Engagement,” Jim Loehr writes:

Balancing stress and recovery is valuable in any performance venue. In 1998, for example, the United States Army undertook a study to assess productivity during warfare. The measure was how many shells a gunnery crew could land on a target during a three-day period. One crew was told to shoot as many shells as it could manage over the entire three days. The second crew was told to take intermittent naps. For the first day, the nonstop shooters landed more shells on the target than their colleagues. By the second day, the accuracy of the nonstop shooters progressively waned and the intermittent nappers gained the lead for good.

Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

I don’t care if you take naps or not. And I don’t think that’s the point.

The point is that modern day philosophy on this seems to be deviating from the fundamentals. I see people bragging about being “always on,” working nonstop, grinding from sunup to sundown. And I think, “That doesn’t have a happy ending.” It might work for a small percentage of people — but it doesn’t work for the human species as a whole.

Nature requires seasonality.

And the human mind and body model this need in an even more nuanced way. In Cal Newport’s book, “Slow Productivity,” he talks about a correspondence between Benjamin Franklin and an old acquaintance:

“I am settling my old accounts and hope soon to be quite a master of my own time,” he wrote to a friend in London in 1748, before elaborating: I am in a fair way of having no other tasks than such as I shall like to give my self, and of enjoying what I look upon as a great happiness, leisure to read, study, make experiments, and converse at large . . . on such points as may produce something for the common benefit of mankind, uninterrupted by the little cares and fatigues of business.

Cal Newport, Slow Productivity

This is the goal.

We must all learn how productive it can be to do nothing. I read this article before getting back to the work schedule and it inspired me to create more space.

There are things that can only be created when you are fully rested. Rest up and let’s win.


P.S. How to get involved:

  • Next week I’ll be in Charleston, SC teaching an event to our Wealthy Consultant tribe — check event calendar here

  • Have you read my best selling book, “The Wealthy Consultant”? If not, go here and enjoy
Our event location next week; we find the best venues in the world and train on ways to grow (and manage) profitable business ventures
Our event location next week; we find the best venues in the world and train on ways to grow (and manage) profitable business ventures
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