Doing nothing | Không làm gì

"...to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know." ― Stephen R. Covey

We live in the age of busyness.

People dash from places to places. I used to live in Singapore, and it's perplexing to observe people in the morning hours. No wonder, it's the city of the fastest walkers in the world. The train doors opened just for a mere 15 seconds.. you'd have to squeeze through the crowd's shoulders to push yourself out in time.

People keep on doing things, because not doing anything is deemed inappropriate in the society celebrating high-achievers. Self-development books say it all.

"...to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know." ― Stephen R. Covey,

"Doing what needs to be done may not make you happy, but it will make you great." ― George Bernard Shaw

"Telling the world you are trying is not doing." ― Shannon L. Alder

"What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing." ― Pablo Picasso

People must achieve success, no matter what it is. Most of them don't even define what success means. All the words coming out from a fresh graduate's mouth surely have a large percentage of success, achievement, goals, performance, career objectives... I challenge you to find words like thinking, reflection, awareness, hopes, dreams in their resumes. You can't, because the HR managers don't look for those nonsense ideas from a fresh graduate.

People can't stop themselves for one minute to just be lazy. Because laziness is frowned upon in schools, at home, at work, everywhere. Staying still gives the permission for others to get ahead of us. And we can't allow that! We must maintain our 'competitive advantages' in economic society of runners.

I'm not against doing. In fact, I absolutely agree with all of the above quotes. But I'm strongly against doing simply for the sake of doing.

I did a simple test. I searched for famous quotes on 'doing', and only one agreed with me.

"Are you doing life or are you living?" ― Dale Forehand

So, are you doing life or are you living?

I'd like to call it busyness versus laziness. Even though it may stir the presumptuous social tantrum. No one likes to be called lazy. But I'm advocating laziness..

I'd also like to call it doing versus doing nothing. Even though people have a bad impression on those who are doing nothing.

For modern people, the idea of doing has been implanted into our brains through schools and universities. Just a short period of doing nothing and just being lazy will spur that weird feeling of being unproductive and unworthy. Because go-getters are highly appreciated in the corporate world.

We are not machines! We need to rest and recharge. The social indictment against doing nothing stops us from doing that with a clear conscience. Doing nothing is an art. Mastering that art is necessary, and it's quite easy.

Although it's counter-intuitive, doing nothing is, in fact, still doing something. If people think of doing nothing as the opposite of doing, it simply means they're not doing it right.

Spring-cleaning for your mind - clear out the unwanted and unused!

Every year, I clean the house and clear the unused stuff lying under the beds, behind the wardrobes, deep in the storeroom. I may throw them away, or more environmental friendly, recycle them, donate them. I do that before the New Year comes, to prepare for the new stuff that I may bring in.

If we do that for our physical space, why can't we do that for our mental place? The first easy thing to do when you do nothing is to clean and clear your thoughts. Think of the existing concerns and worries and sort them out; which ones are worth keeping and which ones deserve to be thrown away? Think of the myriad of options and choices and sort them out; which ones are worth following and which ones should be discarded?

Rearranging your mind - put the important stuff in its right place!

Then I rearrange the remaining stuff to its right place. Perhaps the cupboards need to be rearranged more neatly. Perhaps the clothes need to be rearranged, so that the more frequently used shirts and pants are easier to be taken out. Perhaps the whole living room needs a remake, because it has been the same for 10 years.

The second easy thing to do when you do nothing is to rearrange your remaining thoughts. Which thoughts must be prioritize? Which concerns are more urgent? Especially, why? That comes to the question: how do you define your right place? Where are you heading in your life? Why is it important?

Upgrading your mind - take in the new stuff!

Then I buy new stuff. I put it among others. I love it because it makes the house more lively, more convenient. It suits my current needs, which may not be satisfied by the old stuff. If I don't throw away the unnecessary, I won't have space for these new amenities.

The third easy thing to do when you do nothing is to figure out what new thoughts are needed. What do you lack in terms of skills, knowledge, attitudes? Who do you need to meet so to ensure you're going, and going towards the right direction? How do all these fit into a bigger picture of dreams and desires?


Seems like a lot to do when we're doing nothing, right? But it's necessary. It doesn't mean anything to simply go when we don't know where we're heading. You can't both go and figure out where to go at the same time. You should stop before you can check the map.

So stop! Spend some time to think about these three easy things to calm our go-getter self down first. Stay away from chores, TV, books, work, talking, everything. Try to do nothing for 15 minutes a day, that's enough. Keep yourself separated from the outside world. And think...

I am a trainer of human potential, an inventor of ideas, a Toastmaster of inspirational expressions, and a believer of everyone achieving their dreams. My past adventures include authoring and co-authoring 10 patents in the field of audio and ultrasonic technologies, performing in rock bands, organizing a cross-country business case competition and also winning one, and public speaking. My life purpose brings me to people development. I am now a writer, facilitator and coach of Connection Coach, a new venture to help others realize their full potential and make a positive impact in the society through leadership, growth, and connection.

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