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VISIONs of Greatness – Want to be Great? Relax.

VISIONs of Greatness – Want to be Great? Relax.

If you want to be the best, you have to outwork the rest. Early mornings, late nights. Go, go, go – Actually, scratch that. If you want to achieve greatness, you have to know when to grind and when to unwind.

Hustle culture. It’s a thing. And it’s dangerous. Not only does constantly working prevent you from enjoying the life you’re supposedly building for yourself, but it also hurts the work itself!

A Stanford study found that male basketballs players’ performance dramatically improved when they aimed for 10 hours of sleep a night.

Night shift air traffic controllers performed much better on tests when they were given 40 minutes of “nap time”.

People need rest – it’s really that simple.

This is particularly true for business owners, whose jobs can be more demanding than most. Entrepreneurs not only need to think about how to work effectively, but also, how to not work — how to chillax to the max.

To give you some inspiration, we’ve collected some highly successful people’s rest tactics: what do the profoundly productive do when it’s time to take their feet off the gas and unwind?

Brad Pitt

“… if I have something that I’m dealing with that’s causing me a lot of stress, my mind goes to architecture. I walk around the yard and start thinking about what I need to do to the house structurally.” (2009 Parade Magazine Interview)

Home repairs? While those might not sound particularly relaxing, as Pitt explains, “As a boy, you play with Tinker Tors, Lincoln Logs, Legos, and you get interested in how things are made … Years later, you come back around to what interested you as a boy.”

Ah, that actually makes a ton of sense.


Want to relax and feel lighter and more joyful? Revisit the things you loved as a child!

Novak Djokovic

“…you need to have a place where you know you can switch off and recharge your batteries.”(Independent)

So where does the world’s most dominant tennis player go to recharge? One of Djokovic’s favorite places to unplug is a Buddhapadipa Temple. Though not a Buddhist himself, he appreciates the serene atmosphere, and enjoys “hearing the peaceful sounds of the water.”


It’s important to think not only about how you relax, but where. Find your “happy place” and pay it frequent visits!

Elon Musk

“Sunday morning: to bake or not to bake cookies – that is not even a question. Definitely bake.”(Twitter post)

The man responsible for revolutionizing the auto industry and pushing the frontiers of space travel finds time to bake cookies. What else is there to say?


No one is too busy to relax. No one.

Katie Couric

“Bubble baths, yoga, sitting and doing nothing.”(HuffPost)

The renowned journalist revealed her preferred methods of mellowing out at Arianna Huffington’s 2-day Thrive Conference, and they all sound great – especially that last one. Sometimes, nothing beats nothing.


The modern hustle mentality is so pervasive it even shapes – or distorts, rather – the way we relax. Resist the urge to make relaxation one more item on your to-do list. That is, be careful not to make unwinding just another ‘something’ that must get done. Get comfortable doing nothing, and if your inner critic tries to make you feel guilty for not being productive, tell it to shut up!

Viggo Mortensen

“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast … We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.” (The Scotsman)

Spot on, Mr. Mortensen! Take on your to-do list one thing at a time, give each task your full attention, and do your best to stay as calm, cool, and collected as Aragorn in battle.


Relaxing isn’t just something you do after the work is done – it’s a crucial part of work itself, a tool that allows us to operate more efficiently and effectively.

Oprah Winfrey

“What I do for fun is I literally hang with my dogs, the four-legged ones … I love walking in the woods with my dogs.”(Makers)

We take care of our pets, but they also take care of us. And as Oprah reminds us, spending time with animals is FUN. There’s nothing like a dog’s zest for life to remind us not to take things too seriously and to stop and smell the roses – and in a dog’s case, anything else with a good, strong odor!


Fun is relaxing and relaxing is fun. If you’ve tried to jump on the meditation bandwagon and you just can’t get into it, don’t beat yourself up. Find something that brings you joy, because nothing restores us like having a good time!

David Goggins

“If it’s a rest day, truly allow your mind and body to relax. Turn your phone off. Keep the computer shut down … It’s not a day to lose yourself in technology or stay hunched at your desk in the form of a damn question mark.”(Can’t Hurt Me)

David Goggins is arguably the toughest human being on the planet. But what does the man who wakes at 3 am to run 20 miles – the man who completed more than 4000 pull-ups in 24 hours (a world record at the time) – do to relax?

He relaxes!

Simply put, if you want to get the most out of yourself and reach new heights in your personal and professional life, you have to commit as fully to your downtime as you do to your go-time.


When it’s time to go fast, go fast. But when it’s time to slow down, take your foot off the gas. All the way off. That doesn’t necessarily mean unplugging like Goggins, but it does mean avoiding those things that stress you out, even if only in subtle ways.

So ask yourself, “Does scrolling through my feed really help me decompress?”

If not, close that laptop, put down your phone, and find something else to do!


If you enjoyed this piece, look out for the next “VISION of Greatness” from The 20. And don’t forget to register for VISION ’23, the MSP event of the year!

Spots are filling up fast, so secure your seat today – and get ready to take your MSP from good to GREAT!