Recently, I read an excellent opinion piece in New York Times that bemoaned the fact that everyone today is busy. We’re all up to something or the other, all the time. The lament of “busyness” is ubiquitous. “I’m so busy.” “I’m crazy busy.” And so on. And when we hear that, we usually respond, “That’s good. That’s better than the alternative.” The lament is really a boast, masquerading as an exaggerated complaint. It’s tragic that we’ve become so busy. Even school children are not spared. They operate on tight schedules packed with extracurricular activities, with anxious parents egging them on to get that extra yard of advantage in this competitive world.
Busyness – A Badge of Honor?
We’re forcing each other to take on more. We’ve voluntarily created work environments in which busyness is a badge of honor, thanks to our drive, anxiety and a fear of the void that looms in its absence. To be constantly busy is neither unavoidable nor necessary. “The goal of the future is complete employment, so we can play.” The person who said that was not a drugged and delusional hippy. It was Arthur C. Clarke, the scientist/writer who was into scuba diving, and also managed to get work done on communication satellites.
Trade offs – Time and Money
I’m not suggesting that we shirk our responsibilities, avoid work or go on long vacations. My point is that we should not underestimate the role of idleness in our daily lives. There is great merit in practiced leisure. Archimedes “Eureka” and Newton’s apple epiphany arose in blissfully lazy moments. Leisure causes creativity to bloom. Let’s face it. Except for those professionals like hospital emergency staff or airport traffic controllers, the rest of us have no excuse to drown ourselves in non-stop busyness. Take time out to heal the mind. Lose the fear of the void of nothingness. Spend time on a creative pursuit for some part of the day or week. You’ll still get your work done on time. Except, that it would not have entirely consumed your day or brain. One of the biggest trade offs in the workplace is between time and money. I’ll leave it to you to decide where you want to draw the line.
Stress, More Stress and Extreme Stress!
It’s not a coincidence that busy people are also stressed people. And, stress is a killer. Stressed people die sooner. What causes stress? There are many reasons. The fundamental one is fear. Stress rises from the fear that our expectations will not be met. Watch yourself the next time you start leaping ahead into busyness and stress. Do you really need to worry? Is anxiety warranted? Can you really control the outcome, even if anxiety is your only possible response to the situation? Often, the answer is no.
Stop Connecting Dots
Let go of the fear of what may come. Allow yourself to be who you are, in the moment you exist in, and nothing more. Stop connecting your future to your past. Since you’ve created the circle between the past and the future, you must be the one to break it. Allow the past to be the past. What has happened is done and it will not create itself, unless you allow it to.
Practice – Let Go
Believe that the future is limitless, full of possibilities, and endless in outcomes. Allow yourself to become part of a fascinating stream of events, and keep yourself open to all outcomes. Keep a watchful eye on your behavior to check if it is influenced by your past. Are you trying to understand events solely through the lens of your past experiences or are you seeing them for what they truly are? You may be surprised at how much better you become at what you do, when you practice this. You will be astonished at how small a circle we tend to create for ourselves when we don’t practice this. Try it, and you will find that life is a lot easier than you think it is.
Let go of your fears, and be happy. Happy journeys.
Reference: Srini Chandra (3 Lives, in search of bliss), Pinal Dave (https://blog.sqlauthority.com)