Inner Peace is Overrated

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Don’t tell the Buddhist I’m interviewing for her keen business insights next week, but I’m not sure inner peace is right for everyone. Oh sure, you might go around smelling the flowers and noticing the unique chirp of this or that bright yellow bird in the backyard, but will you get anything done?

In the book Overachievement, author John Eliot is offers a convincing argument that relaxing under pressure is the wrong way to go. He counsels would be superstars to forgo the deep breathing and give in to the glorious pressure, trusting it to propel you toward greater achievements than you can accomplish with diligent goal setting and plodding work.

“Stress is the high-level performer’s Power Bar.”

This week I tend to believe him. This week I have virtually no responsibilities outside work. I also have no pressing deadlines. Nothing’s pressing, nothing’s important, and nothing’s exciting.

Eliot says:

“I actually have recommended to some clients to create even more chaos at work so that getting any work done at all will force them to be in the present. It’s a variation of the newspaper reporter on deadline: If your job depends on getting things done in a busy, noisy area, your brain will find a way to concentrate.”

Well when he puts it that way, maybe the Buddhist would agree.

What do you think? Is I-work–better-under-pressure a valid strategy, an ill-advised delusion, or just a hopeless cliche?

Image Credit: Hape_gera, Flickr