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MLA Full: "What is Burnout?" YouTube, uploaded by vlogbrothers, 11 January 2019,
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APA Full: vlogbrothers. (2019, January 11). What is Burnout? [Video]. YouTube.
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If you take anything away from it, it should only be that burnout isn't one thing, and that you can learn more about what you're experiencing by asking yourself if it's a fuel problem or an opportunity problem. Fuels can be addressed by finding a new story to tell yourself. Opportunity is harder to address, it takes longer, and sometimes, because of the deep inequality in our societies, cannot be addressed.

This is the article everyone is talking about:

And here's a good one from Slate in response:

And here's a video from my friend Rosianna:

A lot of discussion around burnout is pretty specific to people who have opportunity, but have been sold the wrong kind of fuel for too long. Being grateful for and recognizing the opportunities we've been given is, I think, very important.

I also think it's important to find good fuel and do good work and work hard. I don't love the idea that burnout is a problem of being over-worked. I think it's more a problem of being overly convinced that work is the most valuable (or even only valuable) thing we do in our lives. It's especially important in our twenties, and the American reliance on all-capitalism-all-the-time is, I think, a really big part of how people have used that situation to exploit workers and put them in situations that are unsustainable.

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Good morning John it's Friday, and I’m just gonna go ahead and admit this even though I’ve talked a lot about it I'm pretty sure I don't know what burnout is.  I though I did, I thought that it was just when you worked and you worked and you worked and you didn't pay any attention to yourself until finally your mind or you body just collapse, and okay, that is a kind of burnout but I’ve also seen and experienced burnout where I continue to work through the burnout.  Ive been burned out on one part of my life but not another.  So then I'm like "is this just stress?" I know the feeling I’m feeling-I call it burnout-is that what everybody else means? I had a really good conversation today with Marc Rover, in which we talked a lot about the neurotransmitters responsible for making us feel like our lives are rewarding, and how they, and the things that trigger their release, are ultimately responsible for us... doing anything. And then he said this to me: burnout is when the treadmill keeps going, but the dopamine runs out. So you just keep running, even though it doesn’t feel good anymore. That is another kind of burnout, and that made me thing a thing...

So let’s start with this: to get anything done, you need fuel, and you need the opportunity to burn it. You can have a lot of gasoline and you’re not goin’ anywhere unless you have a car. So what’s the fuel? A thousand different things. The desire for status, for an easier life, for joy, for a feeling of being useful, to not disappoint your parents, to see something new on twitter, to destroy your enemies, to feed your children! Whether these are real or perceived things, they are fuel. And whether they are good fuel or bad fuel they’re fuel. All of them make you want stuff, and when you get it, you feel good. At least, temporarily. And then there’s the opportunity to burn the fuel. That can be a bunch of different things too. Free time, skills, education, resources, job history, health, confidence, drive, looking the part, speaking the language, both literally and metaphorically. If we’re feeling a burnout; cos I don’t thing there is any one burnout, you gotta look at your fuel, and you gotta look at your opportunities. Are you ignoring your own needs, or are you driving without any payoff? Are you working to exhaustion, or have you lost a feeling of meaning in your work. Those are all... super different things, but I’ve heard them all described as burnout. 

Some people have the fuel, and no opportunity. Other people have the opportunity and their fuel, has just run out. My greatest few moments of burnout were when I still had the fuel, I just ran out of moments in the day ‘cos one too many things went wrong. I had the fuel, I just didn’t have the car to put it into. But often in creative industries I have seen the exact opposite. People who were once, legitimately joyful in their work, losing their fuel. Because our brains aren’t designed to get amped the same way by the same input over and over again. Like the first time you get a million view video; that’s gonna drive you, for a long time. But the 20th time you get a million view video just doesn’t feel as good so you’re stuck, with the same amount of work, with the same amount of expectation from your audience, for a lot less reward. We are more than machines, and what triggers the dopamine release is to some extent, influenced by our values and by our worldview, and those are things that we can change, intentionally, about ourselves. 

If we don’t diversify what fuels us, we need more, and more of that input to fuel the same amount of work. And if we start to believe that loving each other and taking care of each other and taking care of ourselves isn’t valuable, it won’t be. I think that’s some of why we end up paying money for bath bombs and for yoga classes, because it’s a way to assign economic value to taking care of ourselves. It helps us actually believe that this is worth it. And... it shouldn’t be that hard. And that’s why we have holidays; to remind ourselves to be thankful for other people in our lives. Remembering that there are people that are important in our lives reminds us that we are also important, regardless of the efficiency of our economic output.

I don’t think this conversation is done. It can’t be handled in a four minute video. Obviously I read several things this week, that you might have also read. I’ve linked to those in the description. I think think this conversation is important and I hope that it continues in the comments, John, I will see you on Tuesday.