I just got sick a couple days back. I was exhausted followed with a pinch of body aches. I knew instantly what the cause of my demise was this time around. I was over thinking…my body was telling my brain to slow down and empty out. So I took the next day off “work” (sort of); and tried my hardest to give no light to the over consuming thoughts of client relations, web clutter, launching BlackTop Hoops, emails, personal commitments and all things that take over my brain the majority of the time. That morning, I got a text message from my girlfriend’s mom that read:
“This is the real secret of life, to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” – Alan Watts
And as if it was sent from a bearded man from the clouds or an eight armed deity (whatever your cup of tea is) those words were just what I needed. It was a calming sensation that came over me, allowing me to realize that I was bypassing the fun in what I did and spreading my focus too thin. This realization grew stronger and evolved a bit as I was walking around my neighborhood and getting excited over the change in seasons. I thought to myself, “Why has our culture adopted the notion of working hard and playing hard as our modus operandi? Why has the possibility of work and play as mutually inclusive partners seem so farfetched?” That reminded me of what the networking extraordinaire and bestselling author Keith Ferrazzi, wrote is his book Never East Alone. He boldly states that “balance is a myth”. Instead people should strive to live lives that provoke constant excitement and passion. If you chose to be an entrepreneur you need to embrace the uncertainty while living for the possibilities, if you live the corporate lifestyle you should be fueled by results and be excited for shaking hands with the execs. If you live by this mantra, no balance is needed; you just live life and play!
I have seen “work hard play hard” culture in full force as a student at UC Santa Barbara and by being in sales for a long time. Living this type of lifestyle leaves people unsatisfied and constantly waiting for something better to come around. Everyone is working for the weekend…tru, tru. This mindset is destructive, which was made obvious by me getting sick. Every single day it has been work from 9am to 12am, just grinding and waiting until I get the results I want. Because of that, I rarely allow myself to enjoy the present moment. If you think about it, living about 1/3 of your life “working”, not truly enjoying what you do is absolutely insane!
To all those who have read this, ask yourself, am I living by the work hard play hard mentality. If you are, find a way to make work…play. There’s no reason not to.