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Results Speak: Doing These 5 Painful Things Will Pay Off Forever

Results Speak: Doing These 5 Painful Things Will Pay Off Forever

There’s a hidden side of pain which most people don’t realize. It’s a little benefit known as rapid growth. By default, we run away from painful activities and experiences. However, once you realize that a certain kind of pain actually improves your life significantly, you’ll begin to crave it.

This time, I want to show you the good side of pain and encourage you to leave your comfort zone for good, because once you do, amazing things will happen in your life.

1. Running.

If you never really ran regularly before and you suddenly commit to becoming a runner, your first workouts will be extremely hard. Your calves will burn and your mind will scream, begging you to stop. The good news is it gets easier. Except you need to do it repeatedly, and that’s the hard part.

Running isn’t only about staying in shape and living an active life, although that’s a habit that pays off every single time. Running is also a metaphor for going through hard times in life without giving up once you feel uncomfortable or like you are unable to keep going.

If you are able to complete your run, even if it’s painful and you’d rather give up, you’ll learn how to bite the bullet and survive once life throws you some huge obstacles.

“ […] When you’re running, there’s a little person that talks to you and says, ‘Oh I’m tired. My lung’s about to pop. I’m so hurt. There’s no way I can possibly continue.’ You want to quit. If you learn how to defeat that person when you’re running. You will learn how to not quit when things get hard in your life. […]”

Will Smith

2. Lifting weights.

When you start lifting weights consistently, you’ll experience the real power of commitment. You’ll also experience the power of tiny gains. At first, you will struggle with every single exercise, but as you get back to the gym over and over again, you’ll get stronger and stronger. Keep in mind that transformation never happens overnight. Actually, that’s another invaluable life lesson you get from lifting iron. Patience.

Working out strengthens your body, improves your self-esteem and confidence, as well as boosting your health. I could talk about other countless benefits for hours, but that’s not the point. The message I want to deliver is that in contrast to sitting in a cubicle, lifting weights is something your body will be grateful for.

It may be painful and uncomfortable; however, the feeling of accomplishment after finishing a workout, as well as long-term benefits, are worth all that sweat.

“The best activities for your health are pumping and humping.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

3. Taking a cold shower.

I’ve been doing it for months now. It’s one of the best habits I’ve developed. The beginning was painful, but over time it gets a little bit easier. That said, the freezing cold water remains that way no matter how many days go by. And that’s the beauty of it.

When you let the cold water run down your body, you start to panic, and want to stop it immediately. However, before you do it, realize that this pain is fictional. It’s not a real pain. You don’t actually suffer at all. It’s just a vein of discomfort which make you feel alive.

Taking a cold shower tests your ability to experience short-term discomfort in order to achieve long-term success. This is a skill which separates the extraordinary individuals from the average crowd.

I guarantee you, and it’s not a vain promise, but something based on real life experience: if you begin taking cold showers, your life will improve in many unexpected areas.

“Cold shower therapy makes you invincible. No lie. After your first few five minute face-offs with the shower, nothing can stop you.”

Joel Runyon

4. Organizing your life in advance.

Successful people don’t live on the spur of the moment. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that they are boring. They know exactly what they expect from their lives and what it takes to get there. Pursuing this path requires some strategic planning in advance.

Whatever your goal is, it won’t become a reality by accident. Every success you see is a result of sustained planning and taking action. I won’t lie: it’s painful and uncomfortable. Instead of proceeding, we run to distractions, procrastinate, and come up with thoughts that prevent us from  leaving our comfort zone.

However, if you want to become successful, you need to go through that pain. It doesn’t pay off immediately, but it definitely pays off forever.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

Alan Lakein

5. Eating healthy.

Let me clarify, healthy meals are way tastier than fast food and you’ll absolutely enjoy eating them. The painful part is sticking to preparing them and refusing to eat crap when the opportunity arrives.

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Your body is your biggest asset. Most people don’t truly realize it. This is why you see so many smokers, overweight or obese people, and other living examples of health-destroying tendencies.

If you take the time to learn about nutrition and put only high-quality foods on your plate, you’ll make your future self a huge favor.

“There’s nothing more important than our good health  —  that’s our principal capital asset.”

Arlen Specter

Featured photo credit: U.S. Naval Forces Central Command via flickr.com

More by this author

Oskar Nowik

Oskar is a blogger and the author of "Brightening: The Positive Attitude That Will Change Your Life"

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

Reference

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