As people who are working very hard to improve themselves in their passion, it’s tempting to get caught in a loop where we do everything that we should be doing for maximum performance. This is particularly prevalent for people who work on these pursuits as side passions, where the activity is important to them but does not constitute a living.
Because we work so hard at what we do, we walk a fine line between pushing too hard and not realizing our full potential. Let’s face it: the amount of time we invest in our craft can be both physically and mentally exhausting. Therefore, we must be extra careful to avoid burnout and hating what we do.
The strategy I work with goes like this. When I find myself in a situation where I feel like it’s taking an enormous amount of effort to put my usual work with, I don’t keep on pushing. I’ve made this mistake enough that I know it doesn’t work, and actually makes you feel worse. Instead, I back off immediately, not wanting to even approach an instance where I take a full week off. If I back off early, I am able to jump back into training much more quickly.
My mantra is patience. I need to be patient with myself, content with slow growth than trying to do everything as perfect as possible. I also need to be patient with my dips in motivation, accepting them and backing off instead of continuing forward. I treat these dips in motivations like electric shocks, stopping as soon as I start to fall into a state of low motivation. I’ve built up enough of a base that one day won’t make a training cycle, and it’s better that I take an extra day off than push on when fatigued and beat down.
If you want to keep on cultivating your passion, be mindful of those dips in motivation, and be wise enough to take a step back if things aren’t going well. Don’t push through and make it worse in the long term.