Come into the mountains, my dear friend
Leave society and take no one with you
But your true self
Get close to nature
Your everyday games will become insignificant
I wrote this quote on my white board ten years ago when I started my PhD and never erased it.
Today it stills lives on my white board and reminds me of what’s important -health, friends and family, and quality of life.
Yet, driven by my ambition I continually outpace my daily intake of energy.
My personality is more like the fast hare instead of the slow and steady turtle.
…I often dip into my energy reserves and become depleted.
I find that too much ambition and activity robs us of time to contemplate, relax, and enjoy every good thing in life.
As Kirpal Singh, 20th century Indian Saint, put it:
“Ambition is the thief of the spirit”
But, ambition is in my blood…and in the blood of the athletes I work with.
We love to run, push, and overachieve.
Ambition, while leading to some positive accomplishments, can also lead to stress, poor health, and bad decisions.
How do we balance our ambitious drive?
Over the past few years, at each seasonal change I step away from my desk to rejuvenate.
The autumn equinox is tomorrow so…
I’m going into the mountains, my dear friends.
And taking some time to balance my perspective and priorities.
This may seem unorthodox.
But, recently I learned that the great Roman society -known for their advances in architect, medicine, and science, were able to achieve so much because they took LEISURE time.
Leisure, known to the Romans as otium, wasn’t a time for selfish pleasure. It was time devoted to writing, reading, meditating, sharing thoughts and ideas, exercising, playing, and appreciating nature.
Balancing ambition with leisure was a central tenet to the Romans success.
Achievement requires rejuvenation.
It’s my belief that a natural time to rejuvenate is by the rhythm of the seasons.
Every three months during the equinoxes and solstices, I take a break from writing, checking emails, and networking so that I can “vacate et videte”. According to the Romans, “vacate et videte" means to be still and be seen.
And I invite you to do the same.
Balance Your Ambition by finding a time do an activity that allows you to be fully present -free of time, responsibilities, and burdens.
Schedule an hour or a day next week to give yourself permission to read, play, contemplate, or appreciate nature…like the Romans did. I promise -you won't regret it.