“Doing nothing is better than doing busy doing nothing” – Lao Tzu.
The majority of the people in the world we live in are always busy doing something. It is pretty much the lifestyle of the city. When I was in high school, one of my English teachers commented that it appears to be a trend to be constantly busy. She herself appeared content to not be so busy. She also never missed much, she was the teacher that would always catch you out or notice something and also one of the least stressed teachers.
Let’s think about this. If we are always busy, even ‘fake busy’, we have less time for real people. We become less approachable and perhaps miss a couple opportunities.
Too much doing can be a distraction from what is really important in life.
And technology is one of the things that keeps us occupied, and it can keep people occupied constantly.
Human being vs human doing, what is the difference?
“Human doings fill up their lives with things that they should do, ought to do, have to do, got to do, better do, expected to do, are expected to do, trying to do. Human beings do what they need to and want to.” – Anonymous
More specifically a ‘human doing’ has lost the art of being present. Interaction with others should be a present interaction, but the interference of work, cell phones or other devices, or whatever the distraction, makes this contact somehow ‘distant’ and perhaps we lose the sense of distinguishing people we talk to in the physical body and the people we communicate with via technological devices.
People used to go for walks, sit on the porch, have family dinners and even play board games together – this was fun quality time. This is being replaced by giant TV sets, take out and social media.
Somehow people also use busyness to avoid awkwardness, to fill silent pauses in conversion and to seem productive. But being busy does not always mean being productive (as mentioned in opening line).
“I am a human being, not a human doing!
Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don’t…you aren’t.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer-
What of the benefits of ‘just being’
Have you realised that when you are captivated in a non-creative state of ‘doing’ you have less time to think or even day dream? Nor is there much time to analyse or take in the details. Creativity has become somewhat a luxury. So many people claim and believe that they are not creative, but in actual fact we all have the ability to be creative, in different ways. There is creative writing and creative thinking for creative solutions. There is art in many forms that we can all participate in.
I came across a post by Richard Watson entitled: “Why Doing Nothing is often better than Doing Something” (Fast Company) – He describes an experiment he did and what he learned from it. In a nutshell he did an experiment for 3 weeks where he did not look at the newspaper, watched minimal television and kept internet usage very low. He found that information and inspiration came to him in other forms. He did not look for it; it started to look for him. I feel that information or inspiration that comes to you is the best kind. It is not forced, it just appears.
In my personal experience, writing articles and doing research was a lot easier when I was less busy. Ideas and inspiration would just come to me. These days I have to go for long walks and find ways to switch off so that inspiration and ideas are welcomed. It is also about finding time to just ‘be’ between the times of ‘doing’.
Watson goes on to say that people are always tired because we never really switch off. This is impacting the quality of thinking, decision making and relationships.
The solution for him is to clear the social media and email subscriptions clutter; go on vacations with no cellular connectivity and stop taking calls at certain times.
How to ‘be’ more.
To ‘be’ is really about being more mindful. It is also quite grounding.
Simple practises to ‘be’ more or ‘be more present’:
- Create a morning and evening routine to prepare yourself positively for the day. Let go of any negativity of the day to ‘detox’ and wake up refreshed for the next day.
- Take in the detail of your surroundings
- Try and allow solutions, answers or inspiration to come looking or you instead of busily looking for it
- Make time to think something through
- Allow yourself to day dream
- Allow yourself time to ‘just be’
- Eat mindfully – slow down, focus on the taste and maybe enjoy it with a friend or family member
- Be mindful of the people in your life. Who are you grateful for? Who do you need to forgive? You can send gratitude, forgiveness, well wishes mentally.
- Be mindful of the type of life you are leading – what energy are you giving off? What do you need to work on? Where are you heading? What is your state of mind?
Remember, we are not robots; we are thinking, feeling, human beings.
- Childs, JE. Human being vs Human doing: Which one are you. 2014/06/19. Online: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/joan-e-childs/human-being-vs-human-doing-which-one-are-you_b_5501612.html
- The Minds Journal. 2015/11/12. Online: https://themindsjournal.com/tag/fake-busy/
- Waters, B. Simple ways to be more present in our everyday lives. 2015/04/14. Online: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/design-your-path/201504/simple-ways-be-more-present-in-our-everyday-lives
- Watson, R. Why doing nothing is often better than doing something. 2011/04/26. Online: https://www.fastcompany.com/1749865/why-doing-nothing-often-better-doing-something