I like this a lot. Another way that I’ve enjoyed thinking about this is in terms of the area under the curve. If you imagine your happiness/energy/life/motivation/whatever as a line above the x-axis, a line that can rise or fall in steep or shallow slopes, then the idea isn’t to ramp up as high as possible because then you crash (and sometimes crash all the way to zero). Instead, you want to think in terms of getting the line to have the highest sustainable average height over the uncertain stretch of future time, which will often require periods of lower and lesser exertion.
You don’t build strength while you’re lifting weight. You build strength while you’re resting. This is as true metaphorically as it is literally.
I dig the area under the curve analogy. I’d bet that one of the reasons it often feels so tempting to aim for that momentary Maximum Effort is because that is the time that feels satisfying and rewarding. Even when I’m making significant progress in a part of my life, unless there are very blatant indications that I’m “doing a ton of work”, it’s hard for me to really feel like progress is being made. I agree whole heartedly that maximizing you sustainable average is the way to go, but it can be harder to milk satisfaction out of that.
I’m not sure how universal that experience is, but I’m guessing it could be behind a lot ones drive to max out. I’ve been working on creating some systems that help be clearly see the progress I’m making in order to keep up moral.
You don’t build strength while you’re lifting weight. You build strength while you’re resting.
I think this phrase is particularly helpful as something to repeat to yourself when feeling the impulse to push through exhaustion when you know that you really ought to rest. I’ll almost certainly be using it for that purpose when I’m feeling tempted to forget what I’ve learned.