He put the call out for guest post topics a while ago and I gave him the topic of being idle. I had just finished a post on it, but knowing how hardworking Josh is, I was curious to see where he would go with a topic that is rather foreign to what I know of him and I was not disappointed.
Read on, I promise you will love this post and you might even learn a thing or two. Thanks Josh! You rock!
Here is his guest post:
Stephanie asked me if it is possible for me to be idle. This might sound like an odd question. After all, is anyone truly incapable of lying down on the couch all day? Is there anyone who doesn’t occasionally get sucked into the Internet for longer than they had planned?
There’s a reason she asked me this question, however. Most people who know me have the perception that I’m a very hard worker. I write a successful blog and I write something every day. I guest post on other blogs nearly as often as I write my own.
I work 40-50 hours a week as a librarian and I have a 19-month old maniac running around my house like a little tornado. I also do serious weight training for about 90 minutes every day.
So—this can give the impression that 1) I’m very ambitious; 2) I can’t be idle; 3) I’m a workaholic; 4) I’m the ultimate multi-tasker.
Unfortunately, none of those things are true. I work as hard as I do because I’m afraid of what will happen to me if I stop moving. You see, I have a very extreme case of Tourette’s Syndrome. Without going into it too much, I will just explain that Tourette’s makes people do two sorts of things:
1. It makes them move and twitch involuntarily
2. They make noises involuntarily
In my extreme case, the movements are often hitting myself, scratching at my eyes, grinding my teeth, tossing my head around, etc. Good stuff.
My vocalizations are usually screams, grunts, hoots, hollers, yowls, barks…I never know.
The only thing that helps is to distract myself.
Sharks, Distractions, And The Top Of The Food Chain
Do you know what happens to a shark if it stops swimming? They can’t breathe. It’s an interesting joke: this terrifying animal at the top of the food chain couldn’t sit still if it wanted to. They never get to take a break, so they spend all their time hunting, killing, and being efficient.
That’s me, except that instead of roaming the oceans and biting surfers, I work. By work, I don’t mean my job, necessarily. There’s that, but there’s also playing with my son, spending time with my wife, writing the blog, weight training, playing the guitar.
In order for these things to distract me effectively, I have to commit to them 100% or my tics overtake me.
This means that when I play, I play. Same for work, strength training, writing, reading, laughing, loving, and living. I can’t stop moving or I’ll hurt myself. But this doesn’t mean I can’t be idle. It just means that when I waste time, I have to waste it like it’s never been wasted before.
Everything I do requires extreme focus, including being idle.
Stephanie, does this answer your question anywhere in there? At times there is nothing I’d like more than to just sit still and slobber while I stare at the wall. But it’s not going to happen.
But the efforts I am forced to expend have made me very good at several things. That’s fun. It’s a good tradeoff. I’m no workaholic and I’m certainly not frightening or powerful like a shark. But in my own endeavors, I usually do wind up at the top of the food chain.
But it’s not by design. Just self-defense.
Get Stronger, Get Smarter, Live Better…Every Day
About the Author: Josh Hanagarne is the twitchy giant behind World’s Strongest Librarian, a blog about living with Tourette’s Syndrome, book recommendations, buying pants when you’re 6’8”, old-time strongman training, and much more. Please subscribe to Josh’s RSS Updates to stay in touch.
Josh-yes you did answer my question...beautifully. I tend to be an all or nothing type of person, so I can relate, however, you have inspired me by taking what you cannot change and turning it into various tools to be used to better your life. You are also too modest by far! :) Thanks for sharing!