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<title>Relax for the same result | Derek Sivers</title>
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<h1><a href="/" title="Derek Sivers">Derek Sivers</a></h1>
<div class="blogparent">from the book “<a href="/n">Hell Yeah or No</a>”:</div>
<h1>Relax for the same result</h1>
<audio src="https://m.sive.rs/sive.rs.relax.mp3" preload="none" controls="controls"></audio>
A few years ago, I lived in Santa Monica, California, right on the beach.
There’s a great bike path that goes along the ocean for seven and a half miles.
So, fifteen miles round trip.
On weekday afternoons, it’s almost empty.
It’s perfect for going full speed.
So a few times a week, I’d get on <a href="https://surlybikes.com/bikes/pacer">my bike</a> and go as fast as I could for the fifteen-mile loop.
I mean really full-on, 100 percent, head-down, red-faced sprinting.
I’d finish exhausted and look at the time:
Maybe a minute more on a really windy day, but basically always forty-three minutes.
After a few months, I noticed I was getting less enthusiastic about this bike ride.
I think I had mentally linked it with being completely exhausted.
So one day I decided <strong>I would do the same ride, but just chill</strong>.
Take it easy, nice and slow.
OK, not <em>super</em> slow, but dialing it back to about 50 percent of my usual effort.
And ahhh… what a nice ride.
I was relaxed and smiling and looking around.
I was barely giving it any effort.
I saw two dolphins in the water.
A pelican flew right over me in Marina del Rey.
When I looked up to say “wow!” he shit in my mouth.
I can still remember that taste of digested shellfish.
I had to laugh at the novelty of it.
I’m usually so damn driven, always doing everything as intensely as I can.
It was so nice to take it easy for once.
I felt I could do this forever, without any exhaustion.
When I finished, I looked at the time: <strong>forty-five minutes.</strong>
Wait — what?!?
How could that be?
I double-checked: forty-five minutes, as compared to my usual forty-three.
So apparently all of that exhausting, red-faced, full-on push-push-push I had been doing had given me only a <strong>4 percent</strong> boost.
I could just take it easy and get <strong>96 percent of the results</strong>.
And what a difference in experience!
To go the <em>same</em> distance, in about the <em>same</em> time, but one way leaves me exhausted, and the other way, rejuvenated.
I think of this often.
When I notice that I’m all stressed out about something or driving myself to exhaustion, I remember that bike ride and try dialing back my effort by 50 percent.
It’s been amazing how often everything gets done just as well and just as fast, with what <em>feels</em> like half the effort.
Which then makes me realize that half of my effort wasn’t effort at all, but just unnecessary stress that made me <em>feel</em> like I was doing my best.
<img alt="" src="/images/bikesand.jpg">
<div class="small">Bicycle photo <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mike-dean/12008975114">© Mike Dean</a></div>
© 2015 <a href="https://sive.rs/">Derek Sivers</a>.
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