There’s a silent killer that stalks America. It’s called “rustout” and it’s far more deadly and scary than burnout. Sure, burnout can wear down your body, but rustout can wipe out your soul and your spirit.

”Rustout is the slow death that follows when we stop making the choices that keep life alive. It’s the feeling of numbness that comes from always taking the safe way, never accepting new challenges, continually surrendering to the day-to-day routine. Rustout means we are no longer growing, but at best, are simply maintaining. It implies that we have traded the sensation of life for the security of a paycheck…. Rustout is the opposite of burnout. Burnout is overdoing. Rustout is underbeing.”

Richard Leider and Steve Buchhoz, The Rustout Syndrome

Think of a few ways you can go stretch yourself for a good cause in the coming months.

Life is not a journey to the grave, with the goal of arriving safely and insignificantly at the end. Jump out of that rut. Leave your comfort zone. Go stretch yourself for a good cause. Don’t just write to your state senator—take a whole scout troop to see him. Don’t just watch NBA millionaires playing basketball on TV—go coach some inner city kids at your local Boys or Girls Club. Don’t just throw a buck or two in the Salvation Army kettle—throw on a Santa suit and go ring the bell yourself. This is your life, your one and only life. Don’t keep a beautiful thing like that all to yourself. The very best thing you can do with your life is to give it away.

Go out and make a difference in your community.

You don’t need endless time and perfect conditions. Do it now. Do it today. Do it for twenty minutes and watch your heart start beating. – Barbara Sher


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