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How to Keep Burnout at Bay

How to Keep Burnout at Bay

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    I write for a number of different publications and websites, largely about the same thing – technology and the Web. Much of what I write follows a fairly similar pattern, and fits into a relatively narrow range of subjects. I love writing that kind of thing, and enjoy doing it every time I sit down to do so.

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    Or at least, I did until about three weeks ago. Then, one morning, I sat down to write, and couldn’t think of a single thing I wanted to do less in that moment than write a blog post or article. I had major writing burnout, and needed to do something to recharge my batteries and re-juice my excitement and passion for writing.

    To do that, I tried a number of things, with varying degrees of both extremity and success. Here are the ones that worked for me:

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    Change Your Scenery

    It’s amazing the difference a coffee shop makes. For me, sitting in the same place every day, writing what felt like the same thing every day, got redundant and boring. By changing the part of that equation that was in my control (the location), getting things done became a lot more appealing. I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something to be said for packing up, going to a coffee shop, and sitting down with a massive coffee to get your writing done. Rejuvenated and caffeinated, I was in a much better place (literally and figuratively) to write.

    Change Your Methods

    Up until my moment of burnout, it had been a surprisingly long time since I had done any real writing on paper. Everything was done on my computer, and that was contributing to my feelings of redundancy. So, I took the 19th century dive, and broke out a pen and paper. I wrote an entire post on a piece of paper, and then later copied it onto my computer. Then, I used the paper to draw a mind map of more post ideas. Using paper forced me to think actively, and concentrate on my writing – I can type without looking, but I sure can’t write without looking. It helped to center my focus and think a little differently, which brought me back to writing productively.

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    Debate Yourself

    The most fun thing I did during my brief stint with writing hatred was to pick a fight with myself. I picked something I believed strongly in – that the Web is a perfect place to organize your life and manage your applications – and began to argue the opposite side. I went on a tirade against everything I think is right, and it was a lot of fun! I finished, and wanted to tell myself why I was wrong. So I did, and that became one of my favorite posts I’ve ever written. Picking a fight is the easiest way to get passionate about almost anything, and is a great way to beat burnout and get your fire going again.

    Get Away

    Getting away was ultimately the best thing I did to beat burnout. I was fortunate to have my burning moment just before going on a cruise to the Bahamas. For a week, I didn’t use a computer, check my blog, or even think about any of the work I had to do. By the end, I found that I actually missed all of that stuff. Sitting down to brainstorm ideas and get writing done was incredibly easy, because I was excited about it again. It wasn’t the rule anymore, or the thing I had been doing every day for so long – it felt new again, and found its fun once more.

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    Not everyone will be able to get away for a week, but we can all find a way to get out and get away. Turn off the computer and go for a walk, or go do something bizarre and crazy you’ve always wanted to do (I highly recommend skydiving). Even the shortest break or interruption in the routine can make it feel new and different again.

    We’ve all had those moments, even when we’re doing something we love to do: we just need a break. If you can’t take a break, consider finding a different way to do whatever you have to do – even if it means finding a pen and paper. If you can take a break, short or long, do it. Breaking a routine is the key to rejuvenating your love for your routine, and helping you revive the passion for your work.

    What do you do when you’re burned out?

    Photo: jessica.hawkins11

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    Last Updated on June 18, 2019

    15 Highly Successful People Who Failed On Their Way To Success

    15 Highly Successful People Who Failed On Their Way To Success

    Before their success, some of the world’s most successful people experienced epic failure. We celebrate their success but often overlook the path that got them there. A path that is often marked with failure.

    As American writer Elbert Hubbard said:

    “There is no failure except in no longer trying.”

    So get motivated, and accept failure as merely a chance to learn.

    Here are 15 highly successful people who failed (for a couple of times) before they were recognized by their glorious success.

    1. Sir James Dyson

      You know that frustrating feeling when you don’t get something on the first attempt?

      Multiple that by 5,126 because that’s the number of failed prototypes Sir James Dyson went through over the course of 15 years before creating the eponymous best-selling bagless vacuum cleaner that led to a net worth of $4.5billion.

      2. Steven Spielberg

        His cinematic output has grossed more than $9 billion and brought him three Academy Awards, but the master of the blockbuster was rejected TWICE by the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.

        As their way of saying “Oops, I guess we were wrong about you” the school built a building in honor of Spielberg.

        3. Thomas Edison

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          In what might be at once the most discouraging statement and worst teaching practice of all time, Thomas Edison was told by his teachers he was ‘too stupid to learn anything’.

          Edison went on to hold more than 1,000 patents, including the phonograph and practical electric lamp. Death most likely spared his teachers the ignominy of their incorrect assessment.

          4. Walt Disney

            Can you imagine your childhood without Disney? Well it could easily have been if Walt had listened to his former newspaper editor. The editor told Walt he ‘lacked imagination and had no good ideas’. Undeterred, Old Walt went on to create the cultural icon that bears his name.

            Disney’s take on failure:

            “I think it’s important to have a good hard failure when you’re young… Because it makes you kind of aware of what can happen to you. Because of it I’ve never had any fear in my whole life when we’ve been near collapse and all of that. I’ve never been afraid.”

            5. Albert Einstein

              His name is synonymous with intelligence yet it wasn’t always that way for Albert Einstein. As a child he didn’t start speaking until he was four, reading until he was seven, and was thought to be mentally handicapped.

              He went on to win a Nobel Prize and altered the world’s approach to physics. I guess he was just thinking of the right thing to say for those first four years…

              6. J.K. Rowling

              JK

                Before there was a wizard, there was welfare. Rowling was a broke, depressed, divorced single mother simultaneously writing a novel while studying.

                Now one of the richest women in the world, Rowling reflects on her early failures:

                “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

                7. Abraham Lincoln

                  Lincoln’s failures were broad and numerous. He achieved the unique feat of leaving for a war a captain and returning a private (the lowest military rank).

                  He next took failure in his stride during multiple failed business attempts. Undeterred, Lincoln marched into the political realm, where he launched several failed runs at political office before his ascendance to President.

                  8. Jerry Seinfeld

                    Before the show about nothing, Seinfeld was a young comedian on the stand-up circuit. His first time on stage didn’t go so well. On seeing the audience he froze and was booed and jeered off stage.

                    His choices: pack it in and accept comedy isn’t his thing or return to the same stage the following night and have the audience in hysterics. He opted for the latter and went on to become one of the most successful comedians of all time.

                    9. Theodor Seuss Geisel

                      Known to generations as Dr Seuss, the much-loved children’s author had his first book rejected by 27 different publishers.

                      His books that weren’t good enough for these publishers went on to sell more than 600 million copies worldwide.

                      10. Oprah Winfrey

                        She’s a billionaire with her own TV channel and a penchant for giving away cars but Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first TV job as an anchor in Baltimore.

                        In 2013, Oprah reflected on her experiences during a Harvard commencement speech:

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                        “There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”

                        Creating your own TV channel is a sure way never to get fired again!

                        11. Stephen King

                          In another instance in the never ending series “Book Publishers Making Dumb Decisions”, mega novelist Stephen King had his first book Carrie rejected 30 times.

                          Dejected, King dumped the book in the trash. His wife retrieved it and implored him to resubmit it which led to his first book deal and spawned his illustrious career.

                          12. Vincent Van Gogh

                            A Van Gogh painting will cost you upwards of $100 million nowadays. But in his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh couldn’t get rid of the things.

                            He sold just one painting, ‘The Red Vineyard’, during his lifetime, and the sale came not long before his death. Unfortunately for Vincent, others got to enjoy the financial spoils of his lifetime of toils.

                            13. Elvis Presley

                              “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

                              These are the words that greeted Elvis Presley after his first performance at the Grand Ole Opry, after which he was promptly fired. Disposing of the keys to the truck, Presley went on to become the world’s biggest star with a legacy that endures.

                              14. Michael Jordan

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                                Either he was part of the greatest high school roster of all time or his coach made a huge mistake in cutting Michael Jordan from his high school basketball team. Six Championships and five MVPs later, Jordan became arguably the greatest basketball player of all time.

                                Jordan famously said:

                                “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

                                15. Charles Darwin

                                  The man credited with much of how we came to understand the world today, Darwin was considered an average student and abandoned a career in medicine as a result.

                                  Darwin embarked on a lifetime study of nature that led to the seminal ‘On the Origin of Species’ and forever altered the way humankind looks at our existence.

                                  Final Thoughts

                                  These famous and highly successful people’s crowning achievements stem from drive and determination as much as ability.

                                  Persistence and certitude are the difference between success and failure. So if you want to succeed, don’t be afraid to fail.

                                  Fail often, fail fast and learn from your mistakes. The more times you fail, the closer you’re getting to success.

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                                  Featured photo credit: Kal Loftus via unsplash.com

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