You might be familiar with the Bourne Identity novels by Robert Ludlum. These stories were popularized by the Matt Damon movies in recent years. A spy named Jason Bourne is on the run from various groups of people. As Bourne runs frantically from place to place, he constantly reminds himself of an important concept in his espionage training:
Rest is a weapon.
This is a powerful concept. I’ve realized that rest is one of the greatest “weapons” I have in my creative arsenal. It might be yours, too. Here’s why:
1. Whoever wins the night, wins the fight.
This is a military mantra, and though civilian life isn’t exactly the same as being on the frontlines of combat, it still applies.
Your night often determines how your day will go. In fact, your day technically starts at night. Most people are in bed around midnight, or at least shortly thereafter. Each day has enough challenges of its own. Winning the night before helps me face my day from a place of strength.
An example: one of the non-negotiables my wife and I have is to not let the sun go down while we’re angry. If we have a fight, we do our best to resolve it before the next day. There are times our emotions are still running hot into the next morning, but we’ve at least made the decision to forgive. Then it’s just a matter of waiting for our emotions to catch up with our decision. The flip side? Face the next day with a cloud of conflict hanging over everything we do…especially creating.
2. The mind of the creative never shuts down.
Like many creatives, I’m an introvert and thinker. I have a lot of conversations with myself! My mind is always at work, and sometimes the only way to shut my brain off is to sleep.
I often crash after anything that requires a lot of face-to-face contact or expenditure of creative energy. Writing, designing, and especially public speaking can be very draining. The moment I disconnect from people, I start reconnecting with my own thoughts…and the conversations start all over again.
- “What could I have said better?”
- “Why did I use that example instead of the other one? Arg!”
- “I should listen to the recording of that to evaluate myself…right now!”
One of my biggest “weapons of rest”: a Tempur-Pedic bed. I used to joke that it was the best investment I’ve ever made. Now I think it might be true. I’ll spend a third of my life sleeping; I might as well make it comfortable. If rest is a weapon, I got a good piece of equipment!
3. Knowing how you rest can reveal dangerous blind spots.
We all have different coping mechanisms. Some are healthy, like exercise or napping. Some are not so healthy, like alcohol, rabid shopping, overeating, or escapism.
When I’m tired, I become a zombie. I used to unplug by playing videogames or watching TV for hours. Since shooting aliens for hours isn’t very restful, I’d take a nap on top of it. End result? Do nothing for 8+ hours…and not even feel rested.
Mindless repetitive activities is a common way I cope with stress, at least according to my Briggs-Myers personality type. Being aware of that has helped me put up guardrails around my life and make me more creative and productive.
Question: What is ONE way you can make rest a more powerful weapon in your life? Share below!
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