A fire-stealing Monster called Burnout
What is your secret weapon against this monster?
A monster unlike others
Monsters in our minds come in all kinds of stripes. Some take the form of depression, laying a pall of weighted shadow over one’s mind. Others come as anxiety, pecking and gnawing at one’s peace until all hope is tattered.
There are many such monsters, but they all have one characteristic in common: most of us have learned to recognize them as the monsters they are.
Burnout is a monster unlike others.
It comes cloaked in seemingly normal garb. Dressed as high-achieving ambition, it demands its price in long hours that never seem to end. Sometimes clad in the colours of selflessness, it demands that we give more and more and more of ourselves so that ‘others’ – family, or society, or one’s nation can benefit. It even comes dressed as discipline, for we humans are adept at flogging ourselves under that name.
But, as the famous biblical saying goes, what profits a man if he gains the world but loses his soul?
Feeling the grips of burnout feels like the loss of one’s soul, one’s essence, and the most vital part of oneself.
Burnout is a modern epidemic gripping millions of individuals in its claws. This monster is a fire-stealer – it devours the living fire from inside us until we become mere shells of ourselves: cold and cynical automatons with a shiny surface but an echoing hollow inside.
I know this because I was once a victim of this monster.
But I escaped – and so can you – using the weapon called Inner Fire.
What is Inner Fire?
Having a robust inner fire is the opposite of feeling burnt out – experiencing a deep connection with your authentic self, and a passionate engagement with life.
To understand the role that inner fire plays in one’s well-being – let us turn our gaze backwards in time.
Early humans’ use of fire was a turning point in our evolutionary history. Before harnessing fire, our ancestors were completely at the mercy of the elements.
Life changed dramatically for our ancestors when they learned to use fire. The hours available for activities expanded. People could venture out after nightfall in relative safety. At first, their torches merely kept the predators at bay. But soon they learned to wield fire as a powerful tool, and began stalking those beasts. Suddenly the hunted became the hunters, and for the first time in the history of Planet Earth, humans began to move up the food chain.
As humans, our ability to use fire – and more importantly – to control it, separates us from beasts. And that is as true for our inner fire as it is for external fire. In our modern times, inner fire plays as crucial a role in an individual’s survival and progress as external fire did for our early ancestors.
As humans our ability to use fire separates us from beasts. So it is with Inner Fire.
Think about an activity that you feel passionate about – not a passing fancy, but a long-standing involvement that you can see yourself engaging in, if time and money were not a factor.
Set a timer for ten minutes and do that activity.
Assess how you felt at the end of these ten minutes.
Did you feel the way you once felt, before you were burnt out? Did it feel a bit like falling in love again – with life? Did a warm glow briefly return to your heart? That is your inner fire.
If you enjoyed this post, stay tuned for more on Inner Fire.