If You Don’t Want To be a Loser-Do This-Often

photo (7)I have just done something so extraordinary for me that I am in shock. When I realized I’d done it, I was embarrassed, for a moment. Ok- in truth I usually do it at night. But today I did it in broad daylight, and in public! Have I gone absolutely fricken mad? No- and here’s why.

I think it was in John Grisham’s ‘The Firm’ that I read about the crazy world of high powered, dog eat dog lawyers, where each tried to out-do the other by billing more hours. No-one went on holiday because someone would knife you if you did, and take your job. Or was it a ‘Wall Street’ era story? Does not matter. Point is, if you are as paranoid and insecure as me, you’re always petrified that unless you put it in relentlessly, and kick goals constantly, you’re somehow going to be found out as a pretender and get the big boot out the door, into a world of selling bananas on street corners.

And that’s why I was so shocked when I realized what I had done, in bright sunlight, just an hour ago. I quickly comforted myself with this reassurance, given to me by a media tycoon three years ago. It’s powerful. And so basic.

It’s ok- relaxation is not for losers.

You see, what I had done this afternoon was simply this- I had an afternoon sleep, in the sun, with the waves as my lullaby.

The picture with this post shows that moment. Ok- I am on a week’s holiday.  I am allowed to go on holiday. I have 14 weeks of accrued leave owing to me. We need to take breaks. Real breaks. But bloody hell, every ounce of my being resists the temptation to relax and enjoy it. My mind keeps racing. I keep checking the email. I feel as if I am somehow cheating because I am here, and not there.

But then I fell asleep. For two hours. In the sun. And when I woke, after a moment of panic, I relaxed back, and went back to sleep.

I know relaxation is not for losers. That’s what Adrianna Huffington told me (and 3,000 others) at Cannes in 2010. It is vital for our well-being, creativity and to maintain performance. But I still find it one of the hardest things to do.

Taking “Deliberate Oxygen’

I have got better in recent years at taking what I call ‘Deliberate Oxygen’, and wrote about it in possums piece linked here.  But true relaxation, switching off, is much harder to do.

The Power Of Daydreaming

Andrew Denton told our leaders conference in February about his being ‘a great believer in daydreaming.’ He talked about learning to do nothing. Daydreaming, he said, is in his experience the most fertile creative state there is. “The simple act of allowing your brain to freewheel can lead you to connections and solutions that have previously been hidden in plain sight.” We must disconnect, he says, to find our own voices again.

How Do You Do It?

How good are you at taking deliberate oxygen, or more specifically, allowing yourself to totally relax? Do you ever daydream? Really? How do you do it? Is there a secret to it? If you have it, share please!

For me, it remains a work-in-progress. So, dear Possums readers, with your good grace I am going to return to my deck chair, and try to daydream a little about the future, about opportunity, lessons learnt, growth and possibilities. I am going to try really, really hard to enjoy the next four days, and not let my inner voice of fear and doubt undermine my totally deserved space to find my own voice.

Oh- and if you see me in a few weeks on a street corner with some beautiful bananas for sale, please- buy a bunch. Xxxx


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12 Responses to If You Don’t Want To be a Loser-Do This-Often

  1. Andre July 10, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    Excellent article! I couldnt agree more, the body and mind are machines at the end of the day and they need to be switched off once in a while to perform.. Thanks Chris!

    • Chris Savage July 10, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

      Thanks Andre!

  2. Tony Spencer-Smith July 10, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Hi Chris

    Good grief, how could you be so wicked? Wasting time sleeping, lulled like a baby by the waves?

    What is truly extraordinary about this piece is that you thought you were doing something extraordinary. What you were doing is what (almost) everyone does on holiday – and sometimes when not on holiday.

    Fact is, the brain has various modes and depths and ways of working, and Andrew Denton is absolutely right that you need to chill out, set your brain free from time to time, if you want to come up with truly creative ideas. It’s more than just recharging your batteries – it is allowing your brain to connect things, juggle ideas, come up with dramatic new ones.

    Staying connected at times is vital – if a lion is about to devour you, for instance, or if you’re at a key meeting. But if you don’t disconnect sometimes, the buzz and noise will drown out your best thoughts.

    Have a few more sleeps in the lap of nature – or you might end up selling bananas!

    • Chris Savage July 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

      Fair enough Tony. I will try!

  3. Kelvin Chang July 10, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Taking the time out, allowing time to soak in the oxygen is ever so important in our fast paced lifestyle.

    It’s great for health, and a refreshing mind. I have done this in recent times and I can already see this’s making a difference in my daily life.

    And a fresh mind allows for creativity and learning.

    Its great to see you taking the time Chris, and the next time I see bananas I will buy a box..

    • Chris Savage July 10, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

      thanks kelvin

  4. Caro July 10, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    I love the nana nap!

    I was a late comer to it, and have never looked back. 20 minute refresher here and there adds mega watts to your energy levels & outlook.

    • Chris Savage July 10, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

      It sure does!

  5. Craig Charnock July 10, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    Yeah, awesome reminder.
    Im a believer in the power nap.
    I allot 22 mins. 2-5 mins to fall asleep and the rest for sleep.
    Longer usually means I wake up wanting to sleep more.
    Sometimes after 10 mins I havent fallen asleep, but usually, having given myself permission to sleep was enough, i find myself getting up with renewed energy.

    In terms of relaxing the mind, all those stereotyped (and thus often too easily dismissed) gurus and meditation courses are often the STW group of relaxation in a busy world.

    One of my personal favourites, though I dont carry a photo or even particularly like the use of photos of the guru, (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar), though he is awesome in what he has created, is the Art of living Foundation, a worldwide NGO who have a balanced powerful solution, which will help you integrate a moment to moment clarity and relaxation with the focus and energy to get any job done!

  6. Johnno July 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    G’day Chris,

    I’ve found my happy, relaxing place is on the putting green at the local golf course. Once a week, I knock off before sunset and get over there. It focuses my mind on things other than kpa’s, priorities, meeting schedules, etc. I worry about the slope of the green, the grain of the grass, the direction of the wind, and the speed of the club in my hand.
    Focusing on that little white ball actually redirects my thoughts for 1 hour each week.

    And while it might be frustrating to miss the odd putt, it’s also hugely rewarding when you hole a bunch of them, because you’re focused on the things that effect that ball, and nothing else.

    Clears my mind in 1 hour, and there’s fresh air, cool breezes and the sunset to enjoy.
    Works a treat!

    Hope this finds you well.

  7. MC Hammer July 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

    14 weeks! Keep dreamin big guy.

  8. Evelyn Jackson February 25, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

    So very true… Not sure I can manage it just yet.. But a great reminder to try!

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