I’ll be the first one to say I’ve been a victim of this philosophy, this crude idea that being occupied or unavailable translates into being someone of importance.
But it’s hard not to fall in this trap, especially when everything around us amplifies the Fear of Missing Out. The media promotes the glamorous lifestyles of entrepreneurs and influencers, and it seems like everyone on social media is busy doing something.
Can you tell me you haven’t feigned busyness with the extra-long sigh, the glazed over eyes, or sounds of exasperation but then secretly felt the confidence of having something to do?
We say things like, “Man I haven’t been able to sleep at all for the past three days” as if we just won the Nobel Prize.
We complain saying, “I have so much stuff to do, so many people to see,” but feel almost a sense of relief knowing that some kind of work or somebody demands your attention.
“Busy has become a moniker for important. To say that I’m busy means I matter. I’m important. I’m interesting. I have a good job. I’m cool. I know people.” — John Mark Comer
We act like it’s a competition to see how much we can fill up our schedules when in reality it’s people auctioning off their time and lives in return for feeling wanted and useful.
Now don’t get me wrong. There are absolutely people who are giving everything they have simply for the sake of achieving their vision.
Even then I wonder if they don’t find themselves in these momentary lapses when they’re just riding the current of busyness.
At the very least, it gives off the impression that work is going somewhere. Whether it’s quality work doesn’t matter as long as the crowds are cheering.
I find myself sitting behind my desk writing these posts or working at my 9-5 wondering “Am I doing enough?”
My thoughts constantly seesaw from condemnation that I’ve short-changed my life by not living life at full throttle and accusation that I’m just conforming to the fast pace of society and doing for the sake of doing.
It drives me crazy to know culture and the notion of success plays such a large role in my life. It actually terrifies me to think that all of my pushing back, all of my introspection is humiliated before the tsunami of the hurried lifestyle.
But then it only takes a moment. A glance skywards or a conscious breath, is all it takes to remember it doesn’t have to be that way.
The sum of your man-hours, the limited availability of your time doesn’t translate to progress or success. It might however be an indicator of an addiction or unbalanced priorities.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to step away from work, diligence, and determination. Run away from the misconception that being busy is equal to meaningful work. And just in case it’s slipped your mind, efficiency is still the best sign of skill.
Don’t allow your engine to pump in a placebo as a substitute for the fuel that really drives your life. It’ll only hurt you.
Instead, go grab a cup of coffee enjoy the aroma as it fills the vacancy of your library. Take pride in silently gazing from a lone bench or having your own cinematic moment atop the Eiffel tower. Be inclined to be still, to daydream, and to rest.
There’s a reason we escape into the wilderness. Nature doesn’t care about how busy we are.