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You Can Have It All vs. Chill
Why does it seem to take more effort to relax?
Did you notice the change in attitude and colors along with the change in time?
We knew the time change was coming. It took no effort to turn clocks back if everything in the house and on our wrists was GPS digital. It just got lighter sooner and dark at 5:34 p.m.
Depending on where you live, the landscape of trees, bushes, and wildlife all started the survival dance of brilliant colors and winterization of habitats. Some places already had piles of colorful leaves on forest floors and residential yards. Others, further south saw beginning signs of the blaze of color to follow.
Most of all, I noticed the onslaught of articles, books, and podcasts on burnout, rest for renewal, reflection, transitions in life, and giving yourself a break.
You Can Have It All vs. Chill
Unlike most of the people around us, this is the most fascinating, high-energy, aggressive time of the year for the gifted professional and communicator. While some may be doing less, dialing down, or just giving up on 2023 intentions, the Everyday Genius stays on their intensive course of having it all while weaving in the chill that reinvigorates the prolific output, which is their signature move.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that October, November, and December, for me and among most in our community of Gifted Professionals and Communicators, is the time when they launch new businesses, redo their whole website, double down on social activities plus vacations plus year-end reports, all at the same time. I’ve noticed we put up and decorate three Christmas trees while doing everything else.
Here’s a summary of some leading thinkers and writers on what it’s like to have it all, plus know how to chill.
Relaxation is hard work because our minds and bodies do not come apart into two beings.
The same innate qualities of gifted professionals that push them to the top also increase the odds of pushing them over the edge.
Adults with unique minds have to be accepted as a full package because the things they do well and that we admire cannot be separated from the things we wouldn’t want for ourselves or look down upon.
Paula Prober writes How to Feed Your Voracious Appetite for All the Things While Making Time for Balance and Rest
How do you know when you are doing too much for others, volunteering on too many Boards, solving problems your colleagues don’t want you to solve, saying yes when you mean no, or burning out from years of hypervigilance and the desperate need to prove your worth?
So, how do you manage (regulate? recognize? appreciate?) the capacity and the joys of your multitudinous dives into your passions, while also managing (regulating, recognizing, appreciating) how much you participate with others and contribute to their wants and needs?
Grace is simply allowing for the best possible interpretation of the actions of others and of our own actions. Grace is when a friend says, “Hey, give yourself a break.” Perhaps we should say that to ourselves a little more.
Unsubscription is the process I have been engaged in for the last two years. And key to unsubscription is grace. The goodwill — with others and with yourself — to breathe, try again, breathe, wait, breathe, expect less, need less, take it all slower, and bring it all back into human time. Grace means making it all more humane.
Jess Keating writes How to Navigate Creative Incubation and confronts the awkward, quiet weirdness of it all.
Namely, how do we embrace idea incubation without stoking the parts of ourselves that don’t feel comfortable at rest?
Maybe this is because we suck at resting. Or maybe it’s because as creative people, we crave the processes through which we become more of ourselves. I’ve always believed that creativity isn’t there to help us make things but rather to help us make wings to reach the versions of ourselves that we long to become.
Nicole A. Tetreault, Ph.D. writes Reflect and Begin Again in Awesome Neuroscience.
As we are a part of a greater biology and connected to the seasons, it’s important to take time and notice what may be happening for you with these seasonal shifts.
There’s a lot we are just beginning to discover about adults with gifted minds, especially the professionals we simply admired or thought of as genius. One of the best handbooks for people inside and outside of the gifted brain to read is Insight Into a Bright Mind: A Neuroscientist's Personal Stories of Unique Thinking.
Lillian Skinner presents Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Burnout. One Guides You, the Other Kills You in her podcast The Gifted Neurodivergent Podcast.
You’ll have no trouble following along at the speed of Skinner, if you have a neurodivergent mind. If you do not, then it’s a trip to listen to how fast, intense, and multidimensional this presentation goes. If there is someone in your life who sounds like Lillian and seems to connect 10 things all at once while describing everything in 3-D, you and they may see for the first time, that they are gifted.
Finally, there is Dan Koe who writes 4 Pillars of the Good Life (How to Reverse Entropy)
We know our mind can decline into chaos and we fight it with every fiber in our body because it’s a horrible feeling.
Dan says, “When we do not have clarity on how to achieve a goal, our mind becomes disordered. We become overwhelmed, anxious, and narrow-minded. This is known as entropy. Entropy is Universal. It doesn’t only apply to things like buildings that fall apart with time unless maintained. The structure of your mind, or identity, is an invisible building.”
Credit: Alban Martel
Who Put You In That Cage?
The key to unlocking the cage of chaos that you throw yourself into is identity. Before you can answer the question, What are you going to do? you must answer the question, Who are you?
Our identity is a web of conscious and unconscious goals that determine the skills we acquire, the interests we learn, and the choices we make in alignment with goals.
Back up a step. What about goals? Where did they come from? That’s the beginning of it all and your happiness, freedom, quality of life, or crushing misery comes from who is creating the goals. If you are creating the goals, you have a shot at the good life. If you are living by goals created for you by others, you end up with mental and physical illness.
The conversations and books about burnout have these themes at the core: Identity, intentions, and imagination. This can get extremely complex. It helps to sort out all of the case studies, advice, and self-help works into these core themes.