Neglecting passion blocks creative flow. When you’re passionate, you’re energized. Likewise, when you lack passion, your energy is low and unproductive. Energy is everything when it comes to being successful.
– Gabrielle Bernstein
Have you ever had one of those evenings, when you crawl into bed exhausted, but it’s not a good feeling? Maybe you spent all of your time on projects that simply did not matter to you. Perhaps you spent the day living someone else’s definition of success. Maybe you are starting to recognize that you are on the wrong career path, or you made some bad relationship decisions, either with a business partner or a spouse. Perhaps your day closes with a headache or irritability.
Contrast this with the tired you feel after using yourself up by an inspiring project you feel deeply about. Maybe you spent a day helping a friend or a family member move to their first home and were thrilled for them. Maybe you just went out into the backyard and did some mindless work because that is how you unwind. Perhaps you worked hard at a hobby or project at work that you had a passion for. Maybe you just spent quality time with family or friends. Sleep is effortless, and you glide into a deep relaxation.
In the book The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die by John Izzo, the author tells of his Grandfather, who used to measure his life by how he felt at the end of the day. If it was what he called a “bad tired”, it usually meant he was not being true to his definition of personal success. According to Izzo’s grandfather, you could appear to be winning and still be a bad tired.
If his Grandfather was what he called a “good tired” at the end of the day, exhausted by pursuing things that mattered to him, he considered it to be an indication that he was on the right life path. This kind of tired can result when you lose track of time in an undertaking, becoming engrossed in something you care deeply about. Losing track of time in an undertaking is a good sign that you are on the right life track.
For me, a bad tired can happen when I did not eat right or I did not exercise that day, or I’ve spent my time worrying about things I cannot change. It can also happen if I did not take time to laugh or I have not taken the dogs for a hike. Maybe I did not plan my week accordingly and I am rushed. Perhaps I’ve been crunching numbers all day and did not have one single conversation with a client (the part of my job I love most). Maybe my wife and I did not spend any time together.
Examples of when I am a good tired are when I’ve had a productive, unrushed meeting with a client about financial planning. Maybe I’ve exercised that day, or had at least 3 or more client conversations. Maybe I’ve taken the dogs for a hike in the woods and spent some time “in the moment” (something a dog knows a lot about), or I’ve taken the camera out and taken some photographs of a sunset or sunrise. I’ve spent time with my wife.
In Buddhism, being tired is sometimes called the poor man’s nirvana, because, when you are tired, it is easier to have a clear mind. Izzo urges people to consider how they feel at the end of every day. If you have a series of bad tired days, or it seems you are forever going to bed a bad tired, perhaps this is a sign that you are on the wrong track and need to make a change. Since a great life is just a collection of great days, it makes sense that, the more days you go to bed a good tired, the closer you are to living a life that matters to you.
I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
– George Bernard Shaw
Sources: The Five Secrets you Must Discover Before you Die – by John Izzo