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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Learning From Burnout

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Over at Thinking Directions, Jean Moroney discusses the problem of burnout, specifically when it occurs despite the fact that one is working on a goal that is very, selfishly important:

burnout.jpg
Image by Christian Erfurt, via Unspash, license.
For example, a client I had once needed to write a grant proposal. She said she was procrastinating, and thought she should just jump in and start writing. But when she listened to her resistance to writing, she realized that she needed data to show that the earlier project was a success. She needed to send out a survey to past participants -- urgently -- so that she could get data to incorporate into the proposal. This had not been on her radar, until she examined the reasons for her resistance.

Going by "have to" is wrong. Just as it's wrong to force another person, it is wrong to force yourself. If you use your willpower to force yourself to act against strong resistance, you will deny an important source of information about your work (the resistance), associate pain and suffering with the work, and eventually start hating it. That will cause burnout, no matter what the end. [bold added]
At the risk of sounding repetitive, notice that the moral and the practical are the same here: It is wrong to force a mind because, as Ayn Rand has indicated, one cannot force a mind to think. What is interesting is that even many people familiar with Rand's work might miss the fact that we can sometimes mistakenly attempt to force our own minds. This is a valuable insight, as is the observation that the feeling of burnout can help us catch ourselves doing it.

-- CAV

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