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It's ok to close your eyes.

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

Human Capital

John Scott

Human capital is the collective resources of an individual and the degree of capacity to bring them to bear for the highest good.

Intention: More great, less grind.

Source: Life so far, a career in financial services, positive psychology, high-performance sport, mindfulness, neuroscience, and compassion.

Insight One: It's ok to close your eyes.

When you return to flying, you'll be reminded, "In the event of a loss in cabin pressure, secure your oxygen mask before helping your children or others." We've had a severe "loss in cabin pressure" lately, and it is taking an enormous toll economically and in terms of mental health. If we look after ourselves, we can best help our loved ones and others in our circle.

It's ok to close your eyes. It's ok to take a break. To rest is ok. High performing athletes do this exceptionally well. Our experience of sight requires up to 30% of our brain activity. Closing our eyes provides immediate rest for our brain. And breathing, like our life depends on it, while our eyes are closed, is well, a beautiful thing. Our brains weigh about 3lbs or 2% of a 150lb body and require 25% to 30% of the fuel we consume for roughly 100 billion neurons. Our brain is the master regulator for our whole body (around 100 trillion cells). Our brain needs care. Being on all the times causes stress and depletion. We are washing our hands a lot and yet not practicing brain hygiene as much as we should.

Closing your eyes during the day to take a micro rest, taking a walk, deciding to slow down and unlearn rushing, eating a healthy meal are examples of self-care. Time for you is ok. You matter. And a break, a walk, a pause doesn't mean you are less of a parent, uncaring for others or a bad employee. As a behavioral habit, many people are pretty good at helping others and less so at being kind to themselves.

I asked a dear friend the other day how she was doing, and it brought tears to her eyes at the degree to which she rarely thinks about her caring for herself. And it's hard to argue that generally, men are not skilled at looking after themselves. I know lots of time that tough exterior reflects we are the best of the best, we are handling it all. "Tough" guys (and gals) don't need the sleep others to do and consume lots of beer and wine to ease the stress. We often are privately self-critical. Showing emotion, expressing feelings, being just as you are, might be seen as weak. This imbalance or misalignment is not a requirement and is unhealthy. Each of us can be an equal priority with others in our lives. Imbalance and misalignment are energy consumers, and balance, alignment, humility, authenticity, and compassion are energy creators. We will live longer and be healthier with the latter.

Designed to thrive, each of us has a birthright to be happy, healthy, and fully alive. Of course, we all want that for our children. It's ok to want it for ourselves too.

We all experience painful things in life. Our opportunity is to understand that self –compassion, to alleviate the consequential suffering, is available to us and has significant benefits:

  • Highly correlated with increased wellbeing, positive emotions, and resilience.

  • Reduction in depression, anxiety, and risk of burnout.

  • It allows energy for compassion for others and builds stronger relationships.

  • Self-compassion is a strength, a Super Power!

Rightly so at this time, there is considerable recognition of and appreciation for frontline workers. Additionally, others in some essential services get that well-deserved recognition and our respect.

Maybe we could all think of ourselves as frontline workers and offering essential services. As parents with kids at home or having elderly parents, we certainly can feel the need to be activated to help. In that context, we are frontline workers. It is an essential service we offer of the support, patience, and attention required to help others through this time. We are essential to many people in our circle or network.

For example, people in the financial services sector, dealing directly or indirectly with people who have lives and are providing love and economic security for their children, are frontline workers and essential. Might we consider that we are a necessary service to ourselves? Not just at this time but all the time. It is vital to living a full, productive, and happy life to optimize our body and mind. It's hard to be happy and depleted.

  • I can't be mentally fit and resilient at "one bar" of power.

  • It's hard to express our uniqueness at the highest possible level by not doing for ourselves too.

  • Hard to see the mind-blowing miracle of evolution from one-celled organisms 4.3 to 3.8 billion years ago to human beings today in a fog of fatigue and self-criticism.

There is a different way to do life that can start now. Here are some ideas to get you moving on that better route:

  • Breathe deeply, exhale slowly (onboard "switch" calms us down).

  • Try to get 7 to 9 hours of good sleep.

  • Choosing an exercise as simple as a pleasant walk in nature is excellent for the system.

  • Meditation is a sustainable performance habit. Check out and MUSE, the Headband.

  • Eat well. The only things that fuel you are what you eat and drink.

  • Before you fall asleep, review at least three good facts from the day.

  • Gratitude – be grateful if this stumps you, remember you are breathing; start there!

  • Be kind – to yourself and others. We have little information about how others are coping these days—tilt on the side of compassion and kindness.

May you be well. It's better that way,


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