"I couldn't find a moment's rest."
"The boss is a slave driver!"
"The kids just kept demanding more and more of me."
We hear complaints like these every day -
from friends, family members, everyone.
When we agree with them and say something supportive like,
"You shouldn't have to work so hard,"
or "Your boss should hire more help,"
we see mild disappointment on the complainer's face
and they stop talking about it.
If we say something like,
"It's wonderful that you work so hard,"
or "You really must be special if your boss wants so much from you,"
there is a self-pleased little smile
and they keep on talking about it.
These people aren't complaining.
They are bragging.
And what they are bragging about is hurting them!
THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
To some people rest is a four-letter word.
And "hard" and "work" combine to form an eight-letter word which means,
"I'm important, and you should notice."
Sometimes we work so hard because we doubt our value.
We try to "prove" our worth to ourselves.
Sometimes we do it as part of a conscious or subconscious strategy
to get others to show that they appreciate us.
And of course there are all the "practical,"
money-related reasons we give ourselves:
to pay off the mortgage,
to save for the new car,
and one of the saddest reasons of all,
to pay off the credit card.
But the root cause of all our hard work at this point in history
is simply that we are brainwashed into it through advertising.
Twenty-seven percent of every hour of television is devoted to advertising
and the percentages are similar
for radio, magazines, newspapers, and all other media.
What do corporations buy with the billions in their advertising budgets?
They buy brainwashing
which convinces us that we need what we only want
and that we want what we don't want.
SO, WHY DO WE WORK SO HARD?
We work hard because we are driven to do it.
Some of this may come to us directly
from the wants and needs of the people closest to us,
but most of it is from a force much larger than a few individuals
- the economy, and the advertising that drives it.
Life is much better now than in sweatshop days.
Instead of working too hard for a few cents per hour to feed our families,
we work too hard to buy
better housing, better food, better vehicles, better sound systems,
and brief, intense vacations from all that hard work.
WHAT DOES REST DO FOR YOU?
Many people don't even respect rest.
When someone tells them to slow down they laugh incredulously and ask:
"Why would I want to do that? What would that get me?"
(They might as well ask how much we'll pay them to do it!)
The physical benefits of relaxation aren't a mystery.
The Miller-Keane Medical Dictionary
lists fifteen such benefits in three short paragraphs,
including everything from improvements in metabolic rate
to enhanced creativity in problem-solving.
But to experience the value of rest
all we need to do is trust our bodies.
Our bodies show us that rest is good
by making it feel so good when we do it!
(If rest doesn't feel good to you, see a therapist.)
A SELF-IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
Whenever you notice any advertisement that piques your interest, ask
"How much rest would it cost me?"
Just add up all the energy it would take to enjoy what they are selling
along with the energy it would take to earn the money to pay for it.
Then ask yourself:
"Would this purchase make daily life any better?"
If not, know that you will find a better way
to spend your time, energy, and money later.
FIGHT THE ADS!
If you start to think of yourself VERSUS the things people are trying
to sell you,
you will feel better both psychologically and physically.
The good feeling will be there immediately, as you rest.
And many other good feelings will be there for you in the long term
for the rest of your life.
BUT KEEP THIS A SECRET!
Don't convert too many people to this way of thinking!
If too many people increase their R&R,
the economy won't keep humming along.
Somebody's got to work long and hard to buy all that crap.
It just doesn't have to be us.