Shake Off Career Burnout


Finally. The weather has broken and I’m rowing again on the Berkshires' beautiful lakes. For me, rowing is more than physical challenge. 

It also keeps me mentally agile. Moving in a direction that I’m not facing requires frequent head turns to scan for obstacles. No matter how well I know the lake and shoreline, there is a high degree of unpredictability in every row that comes from sharing the water with fishing boats, kayaks, SUPs, water skiers, buoys, swimmers, fog bursts and the occasional bald eagle. 

Rowing forces me to Always Be Looking — ABL, as I call it. It makes me anticipate, react and stay engaged because the view is different with every row. 

Imagine having those feelings every day at work. But we don’t. At least most of us don’t. 

Routine, predictability and lack of challenge become blinders that shut down our ABL dynamic. We feel stuck and eventually, burnt out. 

While oars and a boat rejuvenate me, you can get revived by simply looking out a window, attests author Leonard Mlodinow. in his newly released book, Elastic. Unplugging and being idle can stimulate new perspectives and develop the “elastic thinking” that Mlodinow, a theoretical physicist and screenwriter for Star Trek: The Next Generation, assures will help us thrive in today’s world. 

He advises to schedule simple, mindless tasks daily to unlock new ideas at work — gaze out of a window and study the cloud pattern or take a stroll to the break room minus your phone. “You aren’t slacking off,” he assures. “You’re giving your artistic side a chance to do its work.”


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