The power in pausing, as opposed to giving up

There are many things that are naturally known to empower people, for instance, pushing forward even when situations are not going as planned. Not pushing forward is often seen as giving up. However, it’s rarely considered that there’s a third alternative: Pausing. As much as there is power in pushing forward, there is also power in pausing. There is power in momentarily stopping in order to gather yourself again, and get back in the right state of mind. 

Giving up vs Pausing

It’s important to understand that there’s a difference between giving up and pausing. According to the Google dictionary, giving up means to “cease making an effort” or to “admit defeat”. It means that you have completely stopped whatever it is that you were working on or doing and decided to remain in that state of non-continuation. Pausing on the other hand is temporary. It’s deciding to take a step back and look at a situation objectively. Failure to do so will result in a sub-standard outcome at best.


These three examples show the power in pausing: 

1. Overwhelmed?

This is an emotion that many people feel. It is sometimes caused by having a lot of things to accomplish in a short space of time. For a student or a working person, this could look like having multiple assignments to complete. For a person who is trying to organise their future, it would look like tirelessly looking for the perfect job or house to settle down in. We trick ourselves into thinking that if something is “urgent”, we have absolutely no time to spare. We then focus all our energy on that thing. The truth however is that you will not reach the best results if you’re not in the best mindset.

The smartest thing to do is pausing and redirecting yourself from where you’re standing. Pausing allows you to determine which path will give you the most effective results. It allows you to let go of the stress and start focusing again, this time with a clearer mind. Lack of stress and doubt clouding the mind may allow it to achieve great things and come up with creative ideas. So the next time you’re absolutely overwhelmed and stressed out by that assignment, leave it alone for a while and do something that will calm your mind. Listen to a podcast or even take a nap, whatever works for you. Then when you have rested your mind and are ready to start again, deliver the best assignment you have ever written. 

2. When the creative juices aren’t flowing

There are so many ways in which people can express their creative sides. Writing, painting, making music, playing sports, gardening and acting are a few of many examples. We are all blessed to have creative people in the world, because their talents not only benefit them, but other people too. Singers and rappers are the reason we have our favourite songs, actors and actresses are the reason we binge watch series, gardeners are the reason we have flowers to decorate our homes, and the list goes on.

If you do anything creative, I would like to take this time to thank you and to remind you that you too need time to pause. It may feel as if you owe the world your talents ALL the time, but it’s important to take a step back sometimes and re-examine where you are. When the creative juices aren’t flowing, there’s no need to pressure yourself into putting out half-hearted projects. Pause. Take time to relax your mind and rid your life of the pressure, begin to seek inspiration again, and then continue. Maybe the greatest way to create a masterpiece is to stop creating it for a while, and have an outside, objective look at it, minus the pressure. You’ll create something so beautiful, that you never thought possible, through thinking clearly and feeling motivated. That is the power in pausing.

3. When you’re having a bad day

When you’re having a terrible day, the best thing you can do for yourself is pausing. By not taking the time to take care of yourself and get back in the best mental state, the day may get worse and worse. By taking the time to pause, you might even come to the realisation that you’re actually not having a bad day, but rather allowing a bad thing that has happened earlier in the day to ruin the rest of it. As I have previously written: Sometimes people have the misconception that they had a “bad day” when in fact a bad THING happened, which does not have to taint the rest of the day. (Advice from Ruva).

You are capable of preserving the rest of your day by dealing with what has bothered you. One way of doing this is by pausing and taking a few minutes out of your day (even as little as 10), to journal. The benefits of journaling come through reflecting on occurrences and experiences and not simply allowing them to direct how you’re going to feel. (Advice from Ruva). Taking thoughts out of your mind (which is sometimes guilty of making issues seem bigger than they actually are) allows you to get some perspective on the things that are troubling you, and find a way of dealing with them, if that’s what needs to happen. So before you allow what looks like a bad day to become even worse, pause. 

Tip for practicing pausing effectively: Do things ahead of time

Yes, there is power in pausing, but it’s difficult to pause when you genuinely don’t have enough time to complete tasks. If you wait until the last minute to start working on an assignment, you’re not going to have that extra time that will allow you to pause and think clearer. Your main goal will be the completion of the assignment. Therefore, it’s important to do things ahead of time.

For instance, if you start working on something a week before it’s due, you’ll be able to take a few hours off and take a nap to regain some energy and inspiration. If you start a month before, you’ll be able to even take days off when you’re no longer in the right mental space. Leaving things for the last minute not only results in subpar results due to lack of preparation, but also the stress that you are under. For those reasons, try starting your projects ahead of time. 

There is power in pausing. Therefore, enjoy the pause, because there’s work that needs to get done when you press the resume button 💞

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