THE ART OF DOING LESS

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“Do less with more focus”

“Let yourself rest”

“Have less, do less, be more”

Three awesome quotes that have taken a little over 20 years to fully understand and accept.

My entire life, I have always been a doer. I did (and continue to) do everything (or basically everything). I’m going to take you all for a little trip down memory lane. It is Thursday, after all, why not write a little TBT (Throwback Thursday)?!

In 10th grade, I was accepted into the “Leadership Institute” at my high school and was enrolled in a special elective class literally called “Leadership 1”. To cut to the chase, we read and analyzed and discussed one of my favorite books to this day, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey. Fun Fact: they guy that wrote this book is the son to the guy that wrote the infamous “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” – Stephen Covey. So as a very brief recap, there are obviously seven habits that are discussed throughout the book, each with a catchy phrase and exercises and stories to go along with the habit. At the time, 10th grade Samantha read the book and completed all of the analyses and necessary class presentations pertaining to each of the habits but it wasn’t until my freshman year of college did I actually begin to use everything I learned from this book and the information and exercises I still to this day have (fortunately) engrained into my brain.

Back to my TBT…. the final habit is to “Sharpen the Saw”. What does this even mean you might ask?? Well basically a guy wants to cut down a tree with a hand saw; after many hours of sawing back and forth he has the opportunity to stop and sit down, take a break and sharpen his saw, or he can continue to attempt to cut down the tree without taking the break. Moral of the story: it is more efficient to take a break when needed, and continue what you were previously completing after resting up versus trying to continue on with fatigue and a dull saw.

Every once a while I find myself having to sharpen my own saw, so I am able to return to my daily activities and routines with more energy and motivation. Maybe physically, my body needs a break from lifting heavy weights, running or completing high-impact exercises, or maybe emotionally or mentally or spiritually I need a me-day. Sometimes I only need a half-me-day. Being a constant-doer, you can see where the stubbornness fits snuggly into the equation. I never wanted to stop doing anything that I was in the middle of completing and I never wanted to finish a task or activity without immediately starting a new one.

Luckily, I have a really great teammate at school who has introduced me to practicing yoga consistently throughout the week, to help stretch my muscles and to give my mind a designated time to relax, and taking time off because (and she lives and breathes this quote onto me) “doing less is more”. Old Samantha would think, “this makes no sense… doing more is obviously more… what is she even talking about?”

As an NCAA D1 student-athlete, I have acquired quite a number of physical injuries; most recently, a knee problem in both knees, a concussion this past fall, and of course the compartment syndrome I now have for life in my anterior and lateral compartments, of both legs. I was lucky enough to survive high school without being forced to take any time off due to injury,with the exception of getting stitches (the plastic surgeon and ER doctors always instructed for no physical exertion the day after they put them in). After just two years of playing a college sport, I’ve been cut from the travel squad for games due to injury, I’ve had to stop playing in games before the end of the game due to injury and as you can imagine not being able to physically compete is not the most fun for anyone who loves their sport and loves to stay active, healthy and competitive.

New Samantha now diligently thinks, “Hmmm my legs/ankles/knees/arches/feet/etc have been hurting more than usual, I should let them rest and get better before I make matters worse.” Although, I would have to admit, I’m still working on the acceptance part of it all, I am WAY better at recognizing when my body needs a break so I can once again “do less” and hurt less and feel better than trying to push through and dig myself into a deeper hole or create an even larger problem than it originally was. In this way, my teammate was incredibly correct. Doing less is most certainly more.

And if you’ve made it this far down my article, here’s a nice aesthetic award; artsy quotes are my absolute favorite so I hope you can enjoy them as much as I do!

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