Judging the American hustler from my observation of him in his own country, I should say that the American hustler shows a lack of adaptation of means to ends because he puts more mental, physical, and nervous energy into his work at all times than it demands. Regarded as a machine he is not an economical one. He breaks down too often and has to be laid off for repairs too often. He tries to do everything too fast.''
When Mr. Lyons was asked to explain how he had been able to accomplish so much without hustling, he replied: ``By organizing myself to run smoothly as well as my business; by schooling myself to keep cool, and to do
what I have to do without expending more nervous energy on the task than is necessary; by avoiding all needless friction. In consequence, when I finish my day's work, I feel nearly as fresh as when I started.''-- Quoted from _New York Herald_, Aug. 30, 1910.
RELAXATION A PHYSIOLOGICAL NECESSITY
_The necessity for relaxation is adherent in the human organism. Even those life processes which seem to be constant in their activity require frequent periods of complete rest_.
The heart beats regularly and at short intervals, but after each beat its muscles come into a state of complete relaxation and enjoy a refreshing rest, even though it be but for a moment. Likewise the lungs seem to be unceasing in their activity, but a careful study of their action discloses the fact that every contraction is followed by a perfect relaxation, and that the rest secured between successive respirations is adequate for recuperations.
In all bodily processes the same alternation is discovered. No bodily activity is at all con-
tinuous. Mental processes, too, can be continued for but a very short time. By attempting to eliminate these periods of rest for bodily and mental acts, we merely exhaust without a corresponding increase in efficiency. The laws of nature are firm and countenance no infringement.
The periods between activity and rest, as well as the durations of the two processes, may be changed. Thus, up to a certain limit, the periods devoted to activity may follow more rapidly and endure longer. There is, however, a danger point which may not be passed with impunity. The danger signal may manifest itself in several ways: The over- trained athlete becomes ``stale''; the over- worked brain worker becomes nervous; the overworked laborer becomes indifferent and generally inefficient.
In all these and in similar instances, the amount of energy expended is out of proportion to the results of the labor. The athletic trainer has learned to guard against overtraining and is severely condemned for making
such a mistake. The brain worker often regards overwork as a commendable thing. However, sentiment is changing. The employer of labor is finding that rest and relaxation are essential to the greatest efficiency. Employees accomplish as much in a week of six days as they do in one of seven. The reduction in the hours of daily toil has not decreased the total efficiency.
The periods devoted to rest are not as profitable as they should be unless they are actually devoted to recuperation. It may be that some of the time supposed to be devoted to rest should be devoted to thoughts of toil. Again during the hours of work there should be a freedom from jerkiness, breathlessness, nervousness, and anxiety. It is not necessarily true that the greatest and most constant display of energy accompanies the greatest presence of energy. The tugboat in the river is constantly blowing off steam and making a tremendous display of energy, while the ocean liner proceeds on its way without noise and without commotion. The still current runs
deep, and the man who is actually accomplishing the most is frequently--perhaps always the man who is making the least display of his strength. He can afford to be calm and collected, for he is equal to his task. The man who frets and fumes, who is nervous and excited, who is strung up to such a pitch that energy is being dissipated in all directions-- such a man proclaims his weakness from the housetop.