While You Rest

Alan Cohen

Summary of Main Ideas

I was recently talking with a hero of mine.

We were chatting about life and careers and work, and he told me a story of when he was a little boy. His dad would send him out to work the farm during the day, then at lunch time, would give him chores to do during his “break.”


It got me thinking about the value of rest, and how a lot of folks tend to have a skewed view of what rest actually is.


There’s no secret to success. You want to be successful? You be the first person your boss sess in the morning and the last person your boss sess in the afternoon.

You find out what your boss is reading and what they’re into, and you read and care about those things.


While you wait, work. Waiting is an active thing, it’s not passive. So many people in this hustle culture are down on time off, or vacation, or rest, because they have a flawed idea of what rest really is.

Rest is not being lazy. Rest is not doing nothing. Rest is doing things that refuel and recharge you, and often times those things are active and take work.

Think of it this way: eventually, your car has to refuel. So you pull into a station and fill up. Technically your car is sitting, but there is still activity happening in order to refuel that car. There's something happening to get that fuel from the pump to your tank


While we rest and wait, we are pausing one aspect of our movement so that we can do something else to put the fuel back in so that we can move forward.


While you wait, work.


Just because the season comes on the calendar, doesn’t mean you’ll be ready for that season. It’s very easy to put something on the calendar, but it’s also easy for that thing to come and you not be ready for it because you haven't’ been preparing or refueling adequately.


So by all means, unplug. Take PTO. Leave the office and turn off the laptop. But if we don't do something to actually refuel, we are never going to feel truly rested, and we are never going to be ready for what’s to come.


“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” Alan Cohen

“Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.” Mark Buchanan

Reflection Questions

  1. When you think of true rest, what is it that comes to mind?

  2. When was the last time that you felt truly rested?

  3. How can you being to “work while you wait” this week?

  4. What is your weekly rhythm of resting? Do you have one? If not, why not?