It's an age of busyness, cluttered schedules, and scurried days. We rush around in a constant race, hardly noticing the passing of our youth, the setting of the sun, or the growth of our children. We are so busy, busy, busy, loaded down with more "time saving devices" than any generation before, with better and bigger and fancier watches than ever, with time-management techniques and consultants, and everything we need to live a totally miserable life.
But happiness doesn't come solely through achievement. It is the result of time invested, not spent, in the important parts of life. Solitude, thinking, praying, loving, sharing, serving, and yes - resting are critically important to the health of the soul and a contented perspective.
But what about Peformance?
The person who understands how to prioritize, who has made time for the truly important things in life, who refuses to be enslaved by the urgent, is more effective, and generally achieves higher levels and sustains it over the long haul. The key question is: "What's important next?" There is a time to perform, a time to work hard, a time to run fast, and a time to exert full effort toward a goal. Nothing feels better than giving 100% toward a worthy goal, being "In the Zone" and maximizing potential. But pinnacle performance cannot come to someone who is burned out and frazzled. It only comes to those who also mix in a little "living" along with their "striving."
The Art of Doing Nothing
By the way, if you're lazy, I'm not even talking to you. Generally, lazy people don't read blogs like mine, if they read blogs at all! I'm talking to all you high-potential achievers out there. When is the last time you stopped and looked at the cloud formations in the sky? Or smelled the salt air of the ocean, or felt the crisp chill of a mountain breeze coming down the canyon with a rumbling stream? When did you last sit in a chair without your cell phone on you? For that matter, when is the last time you were more than five feet away from your phone? When is the last time you took an entire day away from any Internet or computers or phones or television? Most importantly, when is the last time you got away by yourself for a moment and had some quiet? When is the last time you prayed for more than two seconds, and other than over a meal? When is the last time you just sat and thought? When is the last time you pondered your life's purpose? What is the longest span of time you've listened to your children, uninterrupted?
I understand questions like these are obnoxious. But they should make us stop and think. And therein lies the point of my article: STOP. The faster our world goes in its ever-increasing race toward the hectic, the more important it is for us to just stop. Believe it or not, there is power in doing nothing. It is an art.
Watch the elderly and their lack of hurry. Observe children and their total obliviousness to the passage of time. We can learn much from both.
Trust me. Small moments of respite are a salve to the soul. Want to maximize your performance in the race of life? Of course, we all do. But to go forward faster you're going to have to learn to stop more completely and more often. You're going to have to master the Art of (seemingly) doing nothing.
Give it a shot. I dare you.