No Days Off!

Rest

“No Days Off!” “Sleeping is for the weak.” ” You can sleep when you’re dead.”

All of these phrases have one think in common. They all undervalue the importance of rest.

“No days off” is a phrase commonly used in athletics. The meaning behind the phrase is that, if you take time off from training, you are allowing someone to get an edge over you.

For the phrases that involve sleep they are touching on the fact that if you allow yourself to sleep you are missing the opportunity to make progress and get ahead.

While I do support hard work, resilience, and an attitude to always get better, I do not agree with these sayings.

Having played years of basketball, one of the most important lessons I have learned is to work smarter not harder. When I was younger I was led to believe that every touch on the ball was a quality touch, it was better than not getting an opportunity to practice at all. But now I have realized that not all training session are created equal.

For years my mother has preached the concept of diminishing returns. When you reach the point of diminishing returns, it means that no matter how much longer you go or how hard you try, you will not make any more progress. It means that you have plateaued, and only have the ability to stay the same or get worse.

Now you tell me, if getting an extra touch or rep causes you to take a step backwards, is it really worth it?

Now, as I play college basketball, I realize the importance of off days. They are necessary mental and physical breaks that allow myself and my teammates time to rest our legs, minds, and get other work accomplished before coming back to the gym the next day with a renewed sense of energy.

The same can be said for lack of sleep. There are only so many hours in the day and a significant portion of them should go towards sleep.

I frequently hear about college students pulling all nighters. While for some it might seem completely necessary, once they reach the point of diminishing returns it is not worth it. It would better serve them to get some sleep, wake up, and complete the assignment under a given amount of time, than to stay up all night trying to complete an assignment that would take less time if they had enough energy, brain power, and focus.

In a society that values “productivity” and undervalues rest, it is not surprising that we have become less and less productive.

I think the fact that God rested on the seventh day speaks volumes to the fact that sleep is important. I think understanding how ineffective we become without sleep/rest is important as well.

So why do we continue to frame rest as our enemy, and the thief of our productivity?

Next time you find yourself sacrificing rest for productivity, STOP! It’s not worth it.

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Choose Happy

Happy

Rushing through the all too familiar Charlotte airport I was heading to my gate, E36 A.

After a weekend at home with my family I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed that I was going back to Charlottesville. These days it’s like I only see my family in glimpses. It’s such a tease. I see them, finally get comfortable and then I have to leave.

As I walked through the airport with thoughts of the day’s to-do-list, a lady who manned a food stand was yelling, “Welcome to the happy zone. Happiness is a choice and I choose to be happy.” While she was louder than most, she probably was not actually yelling. But in an airport where people are anti-social and rarely exchange words with each other, the sound of her voice seemed to be the main thing filling everyone’s ears in the hallway.

I continued to walk by briskly, focused straight ahead as if I had not seen or heard her, and rolled my eyes. But as I walked away I thought about what she said.

“Happiness is a choice and I chose to be happy.”

Too often we trick ourselves into thinking that we have less control of our lives than we actually do. Many, if not all, of the things we do on a daily basis are decisions. So what if next time we chose to be thankful instead of complain? What if we chose to take responsibility instead of blaming things on others? What if we said hello instead of ignored one another? What if we decided to see the good in everything instead of searching for the bad?

What if we chose to be happy? Wouldn’t that make life just a little bit brighter?

Family and Fr-amily

Family

Friday of this past week was my birthday and I was fortunate enough to have spent it at home with my family. It had been a while since I had been able to celebrate my special day with them and with everything that has been going on in my life, it really got me thinking once again about what I am grateful for.

For me, if this past year, or even the recent months, have taught me anything it is that I am so fortunate to have a family like I do. To have a support system as strong as they are is truly a blessing. I really don’t deserve the love they give me sometimes, but to know that they are always there is reassuring.

To add to that, I am thankful for my closest friends: Raeshaun, Andrea, Wes, and Breyana. While my immediate family has always been there for me and always will be, I am fortunately to have picked up a few additions to the family along the way.

They say friends are the family you choose and it is better to have four quarters than 100 pennies, and I agree. These people are my four quarters.

It is rare to have people come along and care for you like your family does, but I am lucky to have found them, and they continue to bless my life as our friendships grow.

My biggest take away from being able to spend time with my family during my birthday is that once again, I have solidified what is most important to me.

It is not uncommon to get confused or sidetracked on your priorities given the world we live in, but for me I know that family is most important to me. They are most important to me because I am most important to them even when I don’t deserve their love.