One strategy has defined my life and work, and that’s a hot and cold approach to life. A hot and cold approach is different from the slow and steady approach.
In the hot and cold approach, you put in an intense amount of work and then you relax, and then you put in another burst of work and you relax again.
You can call it the ‘hare’ approach.
You’ve probably heard the story about the hare and the tortoise and how the tortoise won the race.
Well, that’s just propaganda spread by the proponents of the slow and steady approach.
In real life, the opposite ending is often true, the tortoise is left in the dust and the hare wins the race.
Slow and steady has never appealed to me.
What a boring way to live life.
I don’t know about you, but if I have had to live that way, I’d go insane in a minute.
Life is not meant to be lived in that slow, plodding, methodical, half-hearted way.
No, life is to be lived at red-hot fever pitch.
Maybe not all the time – no one can sustain working at red-hot fever pitch for long – so you take a breather when you need to and that’s the cold period.
Hot – working furiously at full blast.
Cold – taking a break, recharging.
When I practiced guitar, I used to practice up to eight hours a day. The whole day doing nothing except practice.
And when I got tired of this intense routine, I would take a break, and I wouldn’t touch the guitar much at all for a week, even a month, maybe do only one or two hours a day during that time.
And then I would feel my energy returning, and the urge to practice, and I would begin to practice again with a vengeance, eight to ten hours a day.
And then I would cool down again and take a break or do something else for a while.
And the cycle repeats itself over and over.
The whole process is self-driven.
I don’t have to force myself to practice. I have no way of knowing when I would practice and when I would take a break.
I simply let my body and mind take care of those details.
If I feel like playing, I play, if I don’t, I stop.
I could never imagine practicing guitar in that slow careful methodical way advocated by the tortoise proponents.
Doing the requisite three hours a day, dutifully, day in, day out. Perhaps watching the clock. Okay, I’ve done my three hours today, time to stop.
What a chore.
How boring is that kind of existence.
Life lived the hot and cold way is exciting and rewarding. It’s unpredictable, and the best part is, you end up achieving extraordinary results.
How does that work?
Well, that’s for the next post.