Thanksgiving is one of my all-time favorite holidays. Yes, of course I love the food and lively conversation, but at the heart of it all is rest and gratitude. The day asks us to pause and reboot.
Plus, the fact that it falls on a Thursday often gives us a healthy chunk of time away from work commitments. We get the space and time to reflect on what is truly important in our lives.
This is starting to sound like the perfect situation to practice some Simple Sense!
My common sense approach to work and life asks us to identify the clutter in what we say, do and possess. We need to replace the noise generated by our go-go-go culture that leaves us available and pressured to produce 24/7 and instead set our priorities, focus on accomplishing our goals and actually improve our lives. Thanksgiving is a great time to rest, and in so doing, commit and start to practice some Simple Sense.
Now, most people say, “Will, what are you talking about? I’m too busy to rest!” And that is precisely the message our culture wants us to believe. We feel we need to work all the time, or we are lazy. However, the secret is that if you eliminate the clutter and focus on what is important, then you actually can work less and produce more success in your work and overall life. Moreover, if we take the time to rest, then we give our mind, body, and spirit the chance to go offline so that the connection is stronger and faster the next time we power-up.
I have learned many important lessons over the years, but one that was literally physically drilled in to me is that everyone needs rest. When performing with Cirque du Soleil I did 10 shows a week with 2 dark days, which means that the theatre is closed and we are off from work. Those two days were critical to rest the body, allow it to repair, and grow stronger. People who strength train know this well. When you work a muscle group hard with weights, then you need to rest it for at least 24-48 hours. This allows it to repair and become more powerful. Rest is the essential ingredient to success.
Spiritually this is the idea behind the Sabbath or Shabbat, where one day a week, we retreat and renew. Some choose to literally unplug from the world and modern technology to create a space for concentrated rest. The takeaway is that rest does the mind, body and soul good.
Now when was the last time you took a specified time to actually rest your mind, body and spirit? Have you turned off your gadgets and the demands coming at you from our results-oriented world for let’s say for 24 hours or maybe even 5 (outside of a night’s sleep)? Have you had a chance to still your mind and set aside the responsibilities, the bills, housework, the commitments?
Too often we fill our glasses until we are so full we overflow, which results in stress, injury, or mental imbalances. We buy into the More More More by working hard and constantly, but we end up feeling like we are just falling further behind. The truth is that Less is More, and you cannot afford not to rest! We all need to shift our focus from working more to working smarter.
Take this Thanksgiving week to pause, recharge, and begin to reflect on what you value (also turn off the gadgets). Decide what goals and priorities are important to you. Then, take the rest that can be found in this holiday and commit to bringing it into your week on an ongoing basis. A day of rest one day of the week has been a lost practice for too long. You can start small, but start. Create a practice of dedicated and concentrated rest to bring you the success and quality of life you deserve.