Take time to refill

Take time to refill 11 April 2016

Don't let life take away from you more than it gives back to you while you are chasing life goals, be it work, family or simply trying to be the best you. If you keep withdrawing from your bank account without depositing anything back soon your cash will be depleted; or if you are a crop farmer and plant the same crop year after year without resting the soil and replenishing the nutrients absorbed from the soil that soil will become depleted and barren; if you keep driving your car and never replenish the oil, eventually the engine will pack up. It may sound like a simple principle to adopt, however, it is often a difficult one for us to implement in our daily lives. Fatigue and burnout is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular diseases, depression and certain cancerous ailments. The reality is that we live in a world that overloads us with demand upon demand. We have an insatiable appetite to be the world’s best in what we do. We have stopped looking for our own niche purpose and we often forget that we can’t all run as fast as Usain Bolt, or play tennis as good as Serena Williams or Roger Federer and certainly, we all cannot be Albert Einstein; however we should not use as an excuse the fact that we are not these great people that we look up to as the reason we do not operate optimally in our purpose. When we work hard enough we will achieve our goals.

My point is that we all should live life at our own inspired pace not at the ill-thought expectations of others. We all have different value systems which are relative to our experience and outlook of life. It is guaranteed that we will surely be depressed if we live life at the whims of others. Each of us needs to find that thing that God designed us for; if you do live to pursue another persons goals, there will eventually come a point when you will ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing and regrettably you will not have a satisfactory answer. It is a lonely and dangerous place where your "when, how, what and where" is stronger than your "why" or the reason you are doing something. You will certainly not be short of inspiration if your "why" is stronger than how you do something, for example. One of the things that may make most driven people look bored and lazy at what they are doing is primarily because they fail to derive a meaning in the things they are doing. What often gets us fatigued is the inability to say no to certain demands that will hinder us from achieving our desired goal. We need to, as best as possible, bring our expectations down to reality but work that our reality is above expectation. It is painful to realise one day that you gave a lot of energy in the many things you did often going to bed exhausted but never having done the things you know you were born to do. Another danger that we face that may lead many of us to be dissatisfied is our obsession with making the end goal the ultimate focus. We are motivated in achieving the ultimate goal but are not that interested in the journey. This is because we make the accomplishment the ultimate goal. Consider this: all of us will one day die, what If I said to you don’t focus on life now just concentrate on the day you will die. You will think this is ridiculous, but that is exactly what we do when we simply focus on the accomplishment and forget about the process.

We must aspire not to make accomplishments our ultimate goal but doing our ultimate best our ultimate goal. If the goal is simply about accomplishments, this is when we find students cheating in exams or people who lose their moral compass because it is no longer about the process and principles but simply about the end goal, ethics fly out the window and fraudulent business becomes the only way to do business. I would dare submit that this obsession on accomplishments breeds unhappy, twisted and yet outwardly successful people.

It is a widely accepted medical fact that our bodies need to rest, lest we crash and burn out. Our professions and lifestyles are constantly demanding and never abating. We sometimes feel guilty for taking time off and almost see it as a sign of betrayal to others and hence we keep going but end up spending 20 hours on something and producing only 5 hours' worth of work. This makes us irritable because you have not produced an adequate deliverable while at the same time our families, for example, is feeling neglected spiralling things out of control at work and home. In time you will spend fortunes on health bills and trips to psychologists. My point in all of this is that we must be gentle with ourselves in all our dealings. We must find meaningful time off to reinvigorate ourselves even where this means switching off our phones and emails – the truth is that no-one likes dealing with zombies at home or at work. Even machines, vehicles etc. do need time-off for their durability. When we drive on long journeys, often our traffic authorities inform us that we need to take a break after a few hours of driving to avoid accidents; in the same way if we don't take meaningful regular breaks it may cause accidents in our lives, some car accidents we recover from however for some there is no recovery. Do the right thing and take time to fill up and replenish - a lot of people in your circle and outside your circle need the best you.

Best Wishes Themba Dlamini CA (SA) www.thembadlamini.co.za