“One may go a long way after one is tired.” French Proverb
How true many athletes and peak performers have found this to be! And yet how often many of us forget it when a bit of fatigue bubbles up. We simply stop — and often lose the fruits of bypassing that momentary tired feeling and pushing forward.
Ever experienced this when exercising — your body wants you to stop but something inside you wants to keep going, so you push past your fatigue and find out that you still had some gas in your tank after all? Even if you don’t run or play tennis, you probably know the feeling: When you don’t give in to your desire or inclination to stop something you’re doing, suddenly you get a surge of energy – a second wind.
When you catch one, it’s satisfying, isn’t it? Pulling something out of ourselves that we didn’t think we had can be pretty exciting. We glimpse what we’re capable of: so much more than we give ourselves credit for.
Here’s something I’ve learned through my writing: you can almost guarantee yourself a second wind if you make it a practice to keep going just a bit longer than you feel inclined to: to put just 10% to 15% more effort into whatever you’re working on when you reach the point where you feel like stopping. If you do this consistently, you’re likely to find that some of your most creative ideas and best writing surface during this “extra inning.”
In Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg observes “Go a little further. Sometimes when you think you are done, it’s just the edge of the beginning. Probably that’s why we decide we’re done. It’s getting too scary. We are touching down onto something real. It is beyond the point when you think you are done that often something strong comes out.” Goldberg is talking about finishing a piece, but I’ve found this is true wherever you are.
Creatively, our tank is never empty: We can always go a bit further. Here’s a mantra I love that may help you keep going: “I am filled and thrilled with Divine Energy!” Write on!