Scott’s Thoughts: Burning Out

“When you think that it’s too hard, remember that in the long run, doing the things that will make you successful is a lot easier than being unsuccessful.”

Ray Dalio, American investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist

Match burning down.

Those who succeed are often those who manage to endure past the point where others simply quit. Solving hard problems and working our way through formidable challenges takes real grit. Successful people tend to see their first desire to quit as a sign they’ve just begun the truly productive work.

But sometimes even the best of us cannot seem to overcome the urge to throw in the towel. Success, it would seem, is simply too elusive. Total burn out sets in.

Why do people burn out? How do we avoid burn out?

I think real burn out may be a sign that we have some misalignment in our definition of success. We think we know what we want to achieve, but on some deeper level we know that we are mistaken. If this is true, we can not remain inspired or resilient no matter how hard we try.

If you feel burned out, or cannot seem to make the hard choices and take the difficult actions to reach your goals, it may be worth asking yourself these three questions:

1. Are you pursuing something you truly value, or are you pursuing something you think you should value?

2. Are you acting out of curiosity and desire, or are you reacting out of fear?

3. Are you behaving in accordance with your experience and beliefs, or are you performing what seems pleasing or convenient?

Before you condemn yourself to failure, discern as best you can the true answers to these questions. Success may well be impossible if you are acting against your values or find yourself driven by fear. Burn out might just put you on the right path for your life after all.

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