Are you working too hard?
Are you working too hard? Are you working too hard? Are you working too hard? Did your answer waver at any point? Are you working too hard?
I propose that burnouts caused by internal motivations arise when a person has lied to themselves for too long.
I’ll paraphrase a guest speaker on Scott Barry’s Psychology Podcast, who claimed that people can achieve at peak performance for a certain period of time before their resources shut down or go depleted. What this means is that if you are fatigued, you will still be able to work at max potential before you experience symptoms. This is not sustainable. I presume that a burnout will therefore occur if you reach this stage and continue to push regardless.
Great, now let’s prevent this.
Are you working too hard? Ask yourself. What are your responsibilities? Have you told yourself to put your clothes away, or your dishes, or to do your homework at any point recently? If so, this may be a failure waiting to happen. Do not tell yourself to do these things, ask yourself to do these things. If you learn to maintain a dialogue with yourself, then you will learn what your body and soul truly yearn for. You will be able to see what motivates you, and what things you detest. In order to get a chore done in a sustainable fashion, you must always remember on an almost spiritual level why exactly you have chosen to prioritize it at the given moment.
Imagine you have decided that you should clean your room, but then your mother walks in.
She screams, “clean your pathetic pigsty of a room this instant!”… How do you feel now? Do you still feel motivated? Or do you feel robbed of the meaningfulness behind deciding to clean your room – or something along those lines. This is no different from commanding yourself to do something. If you command yourself to do something, you are robbing yourself of the ability to conclude that it was a meaningful thing to do. This will crush your motivation over the long term, if you do so frequently enough.
So ask yourself if you want to put your clothes away.
You may find that the answer is no. Great, then don’t do it. But at the least, consider your second priority. Do you want to put your dishes away? No? Great, then don’t do it either. But wait, it’s important that I do these things – so how can I just hold them off? This much is for you to figure out. What has worked for me was to be honest with myself – if I didn’t want to do something, I would discover why. I would analyze myself. I would break down my motivations into smaller parts, and then come to terms with them and understand them. From these, I would research any psychology that seemed to be related to the components of my issues. I got down to the grains of my motivation, and there I found similarity behind all grains of chores. If ever I faltered and failed at doing a chore I thought was important, I would ask myself the questions listed in this article, and break it down to fundamental flaws in my internal systems for completing that particular chore. Was it not important to me? Am I too lazy to do this? Am I too tired tonight to do it? Am I too tired every night and therefore require a system restructuring? I would answer these questions, as honestly and critically as I could manage, and this usually yielded in a better understanding of myself.
If you want to avoid burnout, then my suggestion is that you learn how to ask yourself to do something rather than tell yourself to do things, and that you answer your own questions as honestly as possible.
In my personal experience, a burnout forced me to reflect upon what was not working in my life.
What patterns have I maintained to cause myself such hopelessness and lack of energy? I discovered the answer lied in dishonesty (haha) towards myself, towards my motivations. In that regard, the experience of a burnout has been priceless to me as it has taught me the importance of self honesty. However, I presume this is not a road that necessarily needs to be traveled in order to understand the lesson. A systematic and thorough person who is able to stay on task is likely to have automatized the procedures that I have discussed, whether they may be conscious to having done so or not. Of course, as I hope you do with all my works – consider them nothing more than hypotheses and catalysts for necessary or deeper reflection. Thank you for reading, and I hope you decide to leave your thoughts below.