Stop for a moment

stop signThis post is dedicated to all my workaholic friends who work like there is no tomorrow. There may be no tomorrow but chances are there will be one. Even if there was no tomorrow that may be your reason to stop. Find time to be with yourself, loved ones and friends and do what makes you truly happy.

The problem is that in 21st century – many of us – are so much out of touch of our own being that we do not know what makes us happy. If you do not know what makes you happy – go find your purpose in life first. My purpose is sort of figured out but there is a bit of a workaholic in me so “Mr. Pawar the message goes to you also. Stop for a moment”.

Some of you who are familiar with my writing may ask – when you are suggesting us to stop then why write “Just do it.” You are right. I wrote that. But I did not say that – do it, without ever stopping. It makes sense to stop. It helps you think, relax and be efficient. Let’s explore.

Why stop?

Because life mimics more a marathon than a sprint. I got this perspective while sitting next to a top insurance executive on a flight earlier this month. He was reading “Don’t Sprint the Marathon” by V. Raghunathan. Every day we work to stay ahead in the proverbial rat race. What do you think about it? Do you want to run the race longer or just burn out trying to outdo others in the short run? Rome was not built in a day and if you want to build something remarkable it will take time. Be in it for the long haul and when you do that it makes sense to stop once in a while.

Because life is a gift that needs to be cherish, enjoyed and not wasted. All of us have one life to live. It is too precious to be wasted. It needs to be enjoyed while we are in a vertical position; because there will be no chance when we go horizontal. If we keep on running mindlessly where will be the time to live our dreams?

As a kid each one of us had some wild dreams. Not all wild dreams are unattainable. You got to believe in those childhood dreams; take time to remove the haze from the screen of life and see those dreams clearly again. At one point some of you wanted to become an actor, musician, singer, writer, scientist, entrepreneur, social activist, or a change maker. Stop and take time to live these dreams. At the very least plan it. If today you are busy handling subsistence issues, carve a parallel path for yourself. It is totally possible.

Enjoy small victories – everyday triumphs – smile on the face of your loved ones; inches lost form your overfed belly, your idea that got implemented or the complement you received for the way you looked. When you really want to – you will find many little bundles of joy in your life.

Because it helps you to relax and be productive: When you stop, you can relax, recuperate and work better towards your goals. It is very difficult to think creatively and give your best when tired.

When you stop you give your body and brain a chance to stop, relax and recuperate. When relaxed your brain can function better, it is easy for you to focus and create work that you will be proud of. Many 21st century professionals get to eat lunch when it is time for evening tea. What is the point in working like that? It is good as an exception but not as a rule.

Because it helps you to reflect: When you reflect, you ask questions.  Then you try to find answers to these questions. It is very important to ask right questions. You can also look and decide whether you are headed in the right direction. You also get a sense of what is right and what can be improved. It is good to reflect by choice than when old age or something similar forces you to reflect.

When you stop you also give yourself a chance to review and build on what you have done before. This is important for healthy growth – and to draw a bridge between past and future. Reviews are a great way to be efficient because they give you a chance to measure and optimize.

How to stop?

Break out your shell and do what your heart tells you to. I endeavor to do that regularly. I got into film school couple of years back to learn how to direct films. Back in 2009 I got trained as a disc-jockey (DJ) with one of the best in business and I am happy that I did that. My writing pursuits also started long back due to a heartfelt desire to express and share.

So go out and learn what you always wanted to. If you are in a job utilize your holidays to do something close to your heart. If your calling is adventure then go out – meet the mountains or the sea and you will be a happier person.

Do not wait for weekend or holiday season to stop. Even if it is a Monday or a weekday and you feel like you do not want to do what you are doing. Then do not do it. Take a walk – long one – if the need be. No need to be too philosophical about it – take a break if you think it is the right thing to do.

Do it every day. Take time everyday – I would say – every couple of hours to stop, reflect and breathe. Think about past couple of hours – and how you have spent these. It is OK if you have spent time – having fun; doing some productive work or talking to friends or family. But it may not be OK – if you spent these hours thinking of doing something and not actually doing it.

This will also help you get out of overwork mode. If you have been working for past many hours glued to a computer screen or working with a tool-box; then it may be a good idea to stop.

Do you think it is a good idea? Then why not stop for a moment to breathe.

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