Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at Scotch On The Rocks (SOTR) 2011 (Edinburgh) with: Cyril Hanquez and Hugo Sombreireiro and Reto Aeberli and Steven Peeters and Guust Nieuwenhuis and Aurélien Deleusière

I Will Never Be Tired Again

By Ben Nadel on
Tags: Life

I've been tired for almost as long as I can remember. In fact, I can't really remember not being tired. I have a general feeling of lethargy that is only gone when I am engaged in the most enthusiastic activities such as programming (thank god!), working out, talking about movies, walking around, hiking, and learning new and interesting things. Of course, this is not exactly surprising; it makes sense that things about which I am not interested would make feel tired and the things about which I am highly interested would fill me with energy.

The major problem with this is that I have learned to use Tiredness as my ticket to get out of things that I am either not interested in, or, more importantly, to get out of things that push me outside of my comfort zone. In retrospect, I believe that this is what my ex girlfriend, Emily Goodman, was referring to when she said that being tired was my "Winning Strategy" (this was some sort of psych term she learned in graduate school); tiredness was my strategy for staying well within the borders of my comfort zone. It was what allowed me to not push myself to new levels.

This weekend, I listened to the audio book, The Magic Of Thinking Big, by David J. Schwartz, Ph.D. (thanks Clark Valberg). It was an excellent book and I highly recommend it to anyone who, deep down inside, knows that they are holding themselves back. In it, Schwartz talks about the three major types of "Excusitis"; these are:

  1. I don't have time to do that.
  2. I don't feel well enough to do that.
  3. I am too old / too young to do that.

While all three major forms of excusitis do talk to me on some level, number #2 really hit home. The idea of being Too Tired to engage in activities feels so pervasive to my life that I don't even notice it anymore. But, hearing it being called out as one of the major forms of self-limiting behavior really shocked me and gave me the ability to stand outside myself for a moment.

What I realized is that this cyclic behavior of being tired, then telling people I'm tired, then feeling tired to fulfill the prophecy is really holding me back and needs to be put to an end. So, what I decided Friday night was that I will never again tell people that I am tired or use tiredness as an excuse to limit the things that I do. In fact, going forward I am going to create a "Swear Jar" for myself and every time that I tell someone I'm tired, I have to put $20 dollars in the swear jar.

I'm not sure what I will do with the money that accumulates. Hopefully no money will go in the jar, as I am just going to start telling people that I feel great when asked. Just the activity of telling people that I feel great should increase my mood level, and I will actually start to feel great no matter what I am truly feeling at the time.

Tweet This Interesting post by @BenNadel - I Will Never Be Tired Again Thanks my man — you rock the party that rocks the body!


Reader Comments

Excellent work Ben! Now I can invite you and we can work together in jQuery and CF and we won't have to deal with your pathetic "god I'm so tired" attitude. :) Great post by the way! I think this goes for everyone too since we all use any one of those three (if not, all three!) excuses to get out of something. I'm going to remember this the next time I'm a little to tired to do something. Like blogging!

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@Javier,

Thanks. I think so much of it is just mental. The second I decided that I was never going to tell people that I was tired, I actually started to feel better - just from thinking more positively.

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Aside from responding "Great, how are you?" when asked how I am, I also like "Better than I deserve," something Dave Ramsey says all the time.

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In the book, The Magic of Thinking Big, David Schwartz says that when people ask him how he is doing, he says, "Very good. In fact, if I felt any better, I'd be nervous." He says that not only does it get people to chuckle, it always makes him feel better.

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Reminds me of when I am in the midst of a depression.

Cognitive restructuring is very powerful, however take care with it. You are the master of your destiny but at the same time be kind to yourself.

Give yourself time to relax and recharge. Keep in mind the law of diminishing returns. ;)

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@Coz,

Interesting you bring up that point; I was having a conversation about this with my neighbor last night and she was like, "But don't you have to sleep?" I realized that I was not communicating myself properly; the idea behind this movement is not to NEVER be tired - I will be tired, I will be sleepy, I will need to go to bed at my normal time (if not earlier). The point is that I just won't ever tell people that I am tired or use it as an excuse to get out of things.

Of course, if someone invites me to party that starts at 2 a.m., this is clearly not something I will go to. Not because I am tired, but rather that it is past my bedtime. I still plan to have a highly structured life, I just don't want to use tiredness as an excuse and a self-depresant.

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Think you're tired now....wait until you have kids! ;-)

I know what you mean, though, about eliminating excuses. Sometimes it just takes a spark to get you going. Getting more used to social experiences and pushed out of your comfort zone is just like exercising a muscle at the gym - the more you do it, the less it hurts (I'm referring to that pain I get for 3 days after I go to the gym after a prolonged absence!)

Cheers,

Davo

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Reminds me of when I am in the midst of a depression.

Cognitive restructuring is very powerful, however take care with it. You are the master of your destiny but at the same time be kind to yourself.

Give yourself time to relax and recharge. Keep in mind the law of diminishing returns. ;)

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@David,

I am definitely noticing that. The more social things I do, the much less nervous I feel with each activity. I hope to keep that going. I was looking at the Learning Annex the other day and noticed that they have a class on Public Speaking... I am tempted :)

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BTW, I got "500 NULL" when I posted my comment. I refreshed the page hence the repeat post. Just a heads up.

FF 2.0.0.11 on XP pro.

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@Coz,

Figured it out!! You slipped in an email address that was not valid and my validation didn't catch it. Then, every outgoing email to this comment tried to ship something off to you and it was breaking the CFMail tag.

I don't quite like the way the error handling was done.... At least I figured it out.

Thanks to all of you who got like 20 emails :( Sorry about that.

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Without a doubt Ben - take the public speaking course, and then USE it. Join a toast masters club or something. Anything, just to get out there. Public speaking is a skill, and it takes a while to get proficient in it, but you get better and better each time.

Cheers,

Davo

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@David,

What is Toast Masters? Sounds interesting. I am definitely worlds more comfortable now speaking in front of a lot of people than I used to. I remember in 5th grade, giving book reports and barely being able to talk in front of a class of my friends. I think my CFUG attendance has done a lot for this. But, I want to get much more confident.

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Ben, toast masters is a group dedicated to public speaking.

http://www.toastmasters.org/

I've never been a member, but I have met people who are, and they get pretty excited about it. I've heard they are very supportive to beginners. Put that on your 2008 "100 days" goal list.

Cheers,

Davo

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@David,

Holy cow! There are 293 Toastmaster clubs in New York. I guess this is a big time thing. It looks like (and according to the official site) that some corporations start a Toastmasters inhouse just for their employees. Cool stuff. I will look into this.

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wow, very inspiring post... I'm off to check out this book because I'm "tired" too often as well. Thanks for sharing this.

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@Joe,

My pleasure. I have been extremely busy lately, but I feel like this outlook has helped me deal with stuff much better. Best of luck to you!

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@Christopher,

Speaking of "can't", I had a fourth grade teacher (Mrs. Courtney, I think), and anytime you said you couldn't do something, she would say, "Success comes in cans".

It took me a long, long time to understand what the heck she was talking about - I always thought she was talking like Soda Cans. Only when I got older did I realize that she mean "cans" and in "vs. cannot". It really stuck with me. I need to apply it more.

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Hey Benji. First time on your site in a while. So nice to hear your not going to use your lame "I am tired" excuse, we'll see next thanksgiving. haha, kidding. Well at least you talk to me. Let's see a movie soon, and I mean it this time. I think I'm on the same boat as you, I've been getting out there a lot more (thanks to my new boyfriend.) Don't tell him I said that. Miss you. Your big sis!

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didn't realize you wrote that in dec 2007. oh well, better late than never. Still, let's see a movie, dinner, anything. love you.

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Hey Zoe,

Come on, when you mix in turnkey, pumpkin pie, beef, lamb, rice pudding, vanilla ice cream, lemon poppy seed cake, chocolate cake, carrot cake, salami, and bread... you can't expect me to NOT be tired :) That's like a recipe for happiness following by heavy napping (following by bouts of further eating).

Let's get together when I get back in town. I am down in Florida right now for business. Love you too.

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I saw this after finding a different post on your site. almost two years after you posted I have to say that the whole thing just spoke to me. I'm always too tired to take on new things or to make things happen around my life. I'm getting the book Today! I will read it and hopefully find the light as you did, well sort of.
The idea of the Swear Jar is also a great one,
Thanks for sharing this Ben.

çB^]\..

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@Fernando,

It's a great book. I find myself randomly listening to it on my iPhone whenever I have some time down time. Always inspirational.

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