Are you feeling uninspired and stuck? How doing nothing can win you a Nobel Prize

I have been trying to get on top of my fitness lately so I joined a gym nearby and I had a fitness assessment with one of the trainers. During our chat I discovered the importance of rest to our productivity.

The trainer told me the importance of working out just to the point where your body feels challenged but can handle it. If you try to work out and push your body even when its tired, you might feel like you achieved something, but your body will not learn from it because your body is now using the anaerobic stores of energy.


What you want to do instead is to consistently work out your body just to the point where you feel like you are doing work but you are still focused and then take a break. That way you are training your body to be able to learn to do more work while in the aerobic phase.

Now in between all of these comes the importance of rest. The trainer helped me understand how rest works for the body.

Rest is when your body learns and does better. So if you are overexerting yourself everyday in order to build muscle but don’t give your body maybe a day in-between every other 3 days, your body will not have enough time to learn from this exercise in order to build the capacity that you need.

Same thing with gaining inspiration or learning a new skill or being creative. Rest is a very crucial phase for inspiration to happen.

History is filled with people that got inspiration during times of rest. Paul McCartney was said to get his song in a dream, Stephen King the writer was said to get some of his stories in his dream, a dream helped Kekule the scientist figure out the structure of benzene, Frankenstein the popular novel character was inspired by a dream. The pianist George Gershwin got his inspiration for his composition not just when he was writing but out and about- from taxi horns in Paris.

Last but not the least, Otto Loewi got the inspiration for his experiment on neurotransmission from a dream and ended up winning a Nobel-prize for it. The list goes on and on but I’m sure you get the point by now.

The key is to first of all work that idea or skill you are trying to build to a point where you are challenged but not exhausted, then take some rest and let your body learn and translate this information from bare information to insight.

Working out yourself mentally, physically or emotionally to the point where you lose focus and skill is counterproductive. Not challenging yourself either and just having a breeze is also equally counter productive. The key is to toe that line in-between.

So if you have worked so hard and now you are feeling stuck, do yourself a favour- rest, sleep, or just get some down time and you might be surprised to find that aha! you have been looking for when you least expect it.

Have you ever had any great ideas while doing something completely different?

Leave me a comment.

Oh and here is George Gershwin’s composition I talked about to jumpstart your rest hehe;)

The faces of entrepreneurship in Nigeria

I was about going in for a meeting sometime last week when I heard this lady saying ‘have a nice day’ to someone. I heard so much friendliness and happiness in the voice but I didn’t know exactly where the voice was coming from.

Later on, as I was about going in, this lady came to us and offered us a sample of her cakes and her card. I had the sample of the chocolate one and it was so tasty- me and my sweet tooth 🙂

ICakes by Yosola met Yosola again today to place an order. When I went to her store she was so nice to everyone and down-to-earth- she wasn’t just sitting around bossing everyone but was very involved in supervising the final product. When she started telling me about her son in SS1 ( Grade 10) and her 30-year old craft I thought, oops I remembered her from our first meeting as much younger and because of that all this time I had been talking to her on the phone I had been calling her by her first name not knowing she was much older than me.

She shared about a lot of things- from the dignity of labour to learning from others to overcoming fear to tradeoffs and the people in her life who keep her going.

She also talks about starting small and sticking with it.

It is by starting small and sticking with it that she went from a cottage business in her kitchen to paying cash for the new building where she runs Cakes by Yosola.

I was really happy about this opportunity to talk to Yosola because to me this is the face and future of Nigeria- people like her who grow their ideas and use the opportunity to employ people, empower people with skills and inspire people. I know the bad eggs really do us in and give us a bad reputation with scams and what not, but I consider them the minority. There are people like Yosola that I really admire- loving, hardworking, innovative, doing what they need to do to go to the next level. They don’t even see it as anything special- they just see it as doing what needs to be done- so I am so glad that I got to share a conversation with one of those amazing people with you today.

If you are ever in town, you should order a cake from her website. They are also on Facebook and twitter and share baking and decorating tips so check them out.

Thank you Yosola.

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How one teacher is changing the world

I met Kate at an acumen fund event in Calgary.  

It was my first time there and it was a great discussion around the concept of ‘dignity’. Actually made me think a lot and by the end of the evening  I wished I could just turn my mind off because I have the tendency to go down a sweet philosophical rabbit hole in my mind and then just keep going.

Kate stood out to me first of all because of her presence. She had this regal sense to her and the way she communicated her ideas. I have to say her accent stood out to me as well, because although she is Canadian she actually has a very unCanadian accent that I found really hard to place. I would have guessed maybe the UK or Australia/New Zealandish.

Guess the most interesting thing though- Kate has a blog where she interviews people and had actually come up to ask me to be on her blog, when along the line I decided to interview her:)

Kate is a teacher and she is passionate about educating her students and exposing them to the stories of people from other cultures and experiences. She is the founder of Worldviews project that aims to fight hopelessness through inspiration and action. She actually went around the world interviewing different interesting people and she shares the interviews and her perspective on her website.

Isn’t it cool that we have such similar interests and actually got automatically drawn to each other?

I really admire her passion to inspire people and actually ‘educate’ her students. I see education as so much more than the system, I see it as an attitude, a culture and so far beyond the classroom and it is impressive to see a teacher so passionate about teaching her students that she goes outside the box.

She also had these beautiful shoes she had worn and you get to see them in the video.

We talked about how stories help us break down walls and stereotypes and its so amazing how when you actually respect someone else’s space and bring down your walls to listen to them, it changes your attitude about life, gives you a lot of food for thought, a more balanced perspective, while giving you a healthier and more peaceful pace to life.

Try it 🙂 Talk to a stranger on the street corner or somewhere and really connect with them. It can help you have a great day and learn a lot 🙂

Don’t forget to leave me a comment, subscribe and come on over to twitter to continue the conversation 😉