Are you a highly driven person? Do you work on the strongest version of yourself? We live in times there self-improvement is (almost) unavoidable. Yet, many people will never reach their peak performance. They don’t know about one important part of the growth formula. If you want to become the strongest version of yourself, you need to grow in a healthy and sustainable way. The growth formula explains how.
My Personal “Burn-out” experience
Years ago I started reading articles and books about self-improvement. Books like Never Eat Alone, Seeking Wisdom, or Smartcuts. First, I read about learning and body-building. My goal was to get better grades and to lose weight. Soon I saw results and it made me hungry for more. For the first time I felt a real sense of self-esteem and confidence. There was potential for more. I started to dream bigger and to imagine the strongest version of myself.
These dreams gave me motivation to start this blog and other projects. They also gave me the strength to work on my weaknesses, like porn addiction.
And for a long time these dreams gave me enough drive to work more and more. But, after years of non-stop work on my dreams, I burned-out by the end of June 2016.
I had no motivation and strength to finish the simplest tasks at work. I had to ask colleagues for help or they just finished the tasks themselves. By the end of that year they asked me to change the project. With my private projects it wasn’t different. I lost my motivation for projects like StoicTriumph. That’s one of the reasons I wrote so little in 2017.
I had no motivation and felt weak all the time. My behavior wasn’t healthy or sustainable. There was no healthy growth at all.
I think almost everybody can related to the hustle – doing more and more work in the hope achieve one’s goals. It’s normal for most people in western societies. Nowadays, Almost everybody works on the strongest version of themselves – in one way or another. But, they (too) strive towards that dream in an unhealthy and unsustainable way.
Fortunately for me, I listened to the Art of Manliness Podcast #350 with Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness. In the Podcast Brett Mckay talks with his guests about their new book Peak Performance. They talked about burn-out and I related to their stories. So, I bought the book and it changed my life. It’s about a simple idea expressed in simple formula.
The Growth Formula or Growth Equation
The growth formula is probably my most important takeaway from 2017. It’s very simple:
Stress + Rest = Growth
To become the strongest version of myself, I also need rest. I need to rest more. We all do.
“The best athletes also prioritize recovery, time on the couch and in bed, just as much as they prioritize time on the track or in the gym.” – Peak Performance
Only with rest we can grow. Healthy growth, sustainable growth is only possible with rest.
I could link here 1000 articles about how to stress yourself. The self-improvement community obsesses about stretching your comfort zone. Which by itself isn’t bad at all. But, it becomes a problem when we emphasize the stress part and also neglect the rest part. (In this sense stress is everything that triggers the growth process.)
Easy times of rest need to follow hard times of stress. Little stress, little rest. Enormous stress, enormous rest.
This also applies to brain works. The brain is like a muscle. And, when you lift heavy, you need time to rest and grow the “muscle”.
“Part of recovery is relapse. I dust myself off and move forward again.” – Steven Adler
Back on my way to become the strongest version of myself
As I mentioned earlier, this simple formula changed my life. When I realized I’m burned-out I made resting a priority.
Now it seems so obvious. But, I didn’t realize it until I read the book. It was a wake up call.
I started to schedule two rest sessions daily a month ago. Each session is about 20 minutes long. I take the time to listen to music, have a walk, or to nap. I just spend time away from work or other stimuli.
I feel stronger again and my motivation is back. When I write (articles) I feel joy again. I have more energy and I’m more focused on my goals. People enjoy my company more and girls are more relaxed around me. Overall, I’m more productive and happier with rest.
I’m back on my way to become the strongest version of myself. And this time, it’s healthy growth.
Thus, I will continue with my new routine. And, I will try to add even more rest. It is important, so I prioritize it that way.
“it’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” – Zig Ziglar
Peak Performance Review
I already mentioned that the growth formula is from the book, Peak Performance. Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness wrote it and it was published by Rodale in June 2017.
As the title says, it’s about peak performance. Yet, unlike many other books the authors emphasize the importance of rest. They both know from experience how important rest is to achieve peak performance,
Stulberg and Magness structured the book around 3 ideas in 3 sections.
Section 1: The Growth Equation
This section is all about the growth equation, stress, and rest. Stress and rest are explained in an understandable way.
The authors also explain how to stress yourself in the right way to trigger growth. And they also explain several rest techniques and how to do them.
Section 2 Priming
The section is about routines and focus. All great performers have routines that support their work. They also focus deeply on their work. This section explains you how you can do it too.
Section 3 Purpose
The last section is about purpose and how it helps us to overcome our egos. Belief in something bigger helps us to reach new heights.
Besides the clear structure, I really liked the given examples. Almost all are about relatable people and not about “exceptional” people. Both authors also tell their stories and experiences. I always find people more credible that felt the problems they write about – who felt the pain.
I said earlier that Peak Performance changed my life. It changed my view on rest. Now, I prioritize rest and try to get as much as possible. I’m back on my way to become the strongest version of myself thanks to the book.
Besides that, I already learned a lot about Routines from guys like Tim Ferriss and his book: Tools of Titans. I also knew much about focus from reading Cal Newports books Deep Work and So Good They Can’t Ignore You.
Otherwise, those sections would have had a bigger impact on me, I think.
Overall, I strongly recommend this book to anybody striving for peak performance. If you want to become the strongest version of yourself, read this book!