Have you ever wished you could be successful without having to work like a crazy person?
We hear stories of the uber successful working 18 hour days, being constantly on demand and stressed to the max – and then we wonder why so many of us are afraid of success.
It’s just too much hard work!
Or is it?
Over the last few years I’ve noticed a shift away from owning 18 hour days like they were a badge of honor, to a desire to lead a more healthy, balanced, successful life.
I mean what’s the use in success if we’re too burned out to enjoy it?
And yet one of the most persistent beliefs that stops people in their tracks from even attempting success is this:
Success = stress
But is it true?
Well, the latest research would argue no.
According to the neuro scientists, over-working is not only stopping us from attempting success, it’s literally killing us.
In her book Thrive, Arianna Huffington raises the ugly point that women in highly stressful jobs have a 40% increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks and a 60% higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
And yet for some reason we still applaud each other based on who’s the busiest, who’s working the most hours and who’s the most stressed.
It’s like some kind of dysfunctional competition that we’ve created where the most stressed person wins.
It’s nothing short of crazy.
Well I’m here to tell you that it has to stop.
And there is another way.
In Thrive, Arianna very clearly demonstrates just how much more effective and uber successful we could be, if we only relaxed a little.
Sounds counter-intuitive right?
Relaxation doesn’t pay the bills! We need to grind it!
It’s this out-dated thinking that has got us in the mess we’re in now.
Let me help to shift this a little for you.
Let’s take one of the most successful women in the world. Sheryl Sandberg is the CEO of Facebook – one of the biggest and fastest growing companies in the world.
One would image she would be pretty damn busy and pretty damn stressed.
And yet did you know she leaves work at 5:30pm every evening without fail to have dinner with her two young children?
Because she understands something that most of us don’t:
Overwork = loss in productivity
Not only that, but the relationship between overwork and loss of productivity is consistent regardless of nationality or culture.
It’s true across the board.
If you look at the OECD figures, those European countries whose inhabitants worked the most hours (Greece, Hungry & Poland) had significantly lower productivity rankings.
In contrast, those countries whose inhabitants worked the least hours (Dutch, Germans, Norwegians) came in as the most productive.
Can’t argue with the facts right?
So – we know that we’ve got our thinking all screwed up with this whole lie that overwork = success, but where do we go next?
The natural question to ask is this:
If working our butts off doesn’t work then what does?
Well, the answer is simple really.
We need to relax.
And I’m not talking about sitting in front of the TV relaxation.
More than anything, we need to relax and recharge our minds.
One way of doing this is through meditation or mindfulness practice.
And yes there are stats that back this up too.
80% of Fortune 500 companies who have participated in mindfulness training have found their ability to make better decisions increase as a result.
And when you think about it, what is success made up of?
Just a bunch of well-made decisions right?
So we need to train our brains to switch off.
Secondly we do need time for other forms of relaxation whether that be exercise, massage or just the simple act of enjoying a long bath.
And thirdly we need to cut back on stimulation.
We are so over-stimulated it’s a wonder we can make a decision at all!
In-fact all of these constant distractions are stealing our ability to focus – and focus is a definite requisite of success.
At the Happiness & its causes conference a few weeks ago, Susan Pearse dropped the bomb that for 46% of our day we’re doing something while thinking about something else.
We’re just not present!
And if we’re not present, how can we expect to achieve success, regardless of how many hours we’re working.
And I have to say I have noticed this myself.
The temptation to just keep on working is so huge, but when we do allow ourselves to step away for a moment, this is often when the aha moments come to us.
And when they do in this way, it’s not forced, but more of a blissful, organic epiphany!
Perhaps this is why all of the historic innovations of our time have come to people during moments of peace (aka: Newton & the apple!).
So know that not only is it possible to achieve success without working yourself into the ground – it’s essential!
And today is the perfect day to make a start.
Leave it too late and you risk burnout (which is not pretty believe me!)
So, consider what small changes you can make to be more successful and productive and less stressed!
Simple Life Strategy: How to be uber successful without working yourself to death
- Start with the mind: change your thinking from believing that overwork = success, to success = balance. Regularly remind yourself of this truth.
- Add some mind training to your to do list. Start with either just 5 minutes a day of meditation or mindfulness techniques
- Schedule in some time for regular relaxation. Do whatever works for you…a walk, a bath, a massage, yoga
- Create better boundaries with your digital distractions. Have periods of the day where you switch off and are unavailable. Decide not to be driven by your devices!
- Ultimately aim for more balance in your life knowing that this is what will keep you more productive, less stressed and more successful!
To less stress and more success!
I’d love to hear what you do to be more productive and less stressed – leave a comment below 🙂
Know someone who’s stressed to the max on a success trip? Share this article with them.
PS ~ Sick of working just to pay the bills? Get my most popular, FREE online training here: My 3 Step process To Find A More Meaningful Career.
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