This I Believe

Hillary - Coeur d Alene, Idaho
Entered on September 26, 2006

Don’t Forget the Break

Success comes from hard work and perseverance. That’s what we’re always told, and to some extent it’s true. But is it really possible to work forever without a break? Maybe. But I wouldn’t want to try it. What really makes success possible, the real “secret to success,” is a little less appreciated, even all but forgotten, or taken for granted so often that it’s only realized early on those cold winter mornings when the only choice that seems sane is to turn off the alarm and roll over.

I believe in rest. Whether it’s vacation time, or sleep, naps, or breaks – any reprieve. Rest does not always come first to mind when listing the most important parts of life. Instead, on the great list of what’s necessary in life, it falls somewhere between paper cuts and the gummy residue left over from price stickers. To me, it seems highly underappreciated, or I’ve just never quite mastered the idea of forgetting rest in pursuit of some other cause, goal or time-consuming idea.

Rest works behind the scenes to make everything possible. It’s hard to make it through a day with no sleep the previous night. Maybe it’s just me, but I can barely function. It’s more a question of “Can I manage not to run into the wall today?” than “What’ll my great accomplishment be?” The same idea can be stretched out to apply to years – it’s hard to keep going without a few restoration breaks here and there. Since rest is that necessary to thought, and even coordination, why sacrifice it to squeeze in a few more hours of work? Americans don’t even take nearly as much vacation time as people in other countries, or as they’ve earned. For some reason, it’s more important to stay at work than take a relaxing, stress-relieving vacation. Which, by the way, can reduce the risk of heart disease. So, here’s my humble opinion of a not-so-profound life changing idea: take vacation time. Sleep in a little. And take a break from work every once in a while, even if it’s rare and short.