Why Doing Nothing Is One of the Best Things You Can Do
Sometimes the most important thing to do is to do nothing.
Doing nothing and calling it as 'one of the best things to do'.Sounds like poles apart isn't it ?.
But that was exactly the path-illuminating organizational hack, he taught me a few years back.
I met him at a tech conference. We exchanged pleasantries and then our business cards.
“Chief Happiness Officer? Interesting title. So what do you do exactly”. I asked with sarcasm dripping from my voice.
He smiled and said “My job is to just create a congenial atmosphere of compassion, empathy, and respect where employees feel valued and excited about their work. And one of the ways I do it is by teaching them, the art of doing nothing at times.”
Intrigued, I waited for him to explain.
"Yes, doing nothing is often associated with laziness, lethargy, or even procrastination. Unfortunately, this is the most misunderstood interpretation, that is ever possible of this wonderful concept," he continued.
"The art of nothingness is like taking a leaf out of the Italian way of life; La dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing). The very idea here is that doing nothing is an activity in itself."
And here are some advantages of indulging in nothingness.
You become more creative
In 1881, famous inventor Nikola Tesla had fallen seriously ill on a trip to Budapest. There, a college friend, Anthony Szigeti, took him on walks to help him recover.
As they were watching the sunset on one of these walks, Tesla suddenly had an insight about rotating magnetic fields — which would, in turn, lead to the development of modern day’s alternating current electrical mechanism.
Similarly, Friedrich August Kekulé, one of the most renowned organic chemists in 19th-century Europe, discovered the ring-shaped structure of the organic chemical compound benzene while daydreaming about the famous circular symbol of a snake eating its own tail.
And Albert Einstein famously turned to music — Mozart in particular — when he was grappling with complex problems and needed inspiration.
So what is the common factor in all these inventions?
The inventions were not made by forced application of mind. All these inventions are a result of randomness; making the mind wander. In other words, we become more creative when our mind is idle, daydreaming, or unfocused.
New studies have also proved that indulging in even hours of nothingness is a smarter way to live and utilize the brain to its full potential. This is the reason that companies like Google, Twitter. and Facebook has made “disconnected time” or “nothingness” a key aspect of their workplaces.
You Eliminate FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
In Today’s age of 24X7 “connectedness”, even if we think we are giving our mind a rest, in reality, our fingers are constantly typing on smartphones and laptops.
We are “bound” by an electronic leash and even a few seconds of “disconnectivity” gives us jitters thinking, what important things we might be missing.
Experts worldwide have agreed to the fact that this “virtual busyness” is one of the main reasons for the growing cases of mental ill-health spreading alarmingly among younger people.
Recent studies have shown that every time we scroll through Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, our brains get a dopamine hit and we get “high”, thus consuming our natural energies. Practicing “nothingness” not only eliminates us from FOMO but also helps us to take control of our lives and utilize it in more productive pursuits.
You Manage Stress Better
In today’s rat-race world, stress cannot be avoided and this is the sad truth. We are constantly living an unenvious life of tight deadlines and even tighter customer expectations.
Our every project is a never-ending saga of blood, sweat, and tears. This “round the clock” working, no doubt plays havoc on our mental and physical health and burnouts and blackouts are getting very common these days especially among the younger generation.
Idleness is the solution to get out of this muck.in fact, it is the only way to give your mind much-needed peace and recharge your batteries at the same time. Once the “toxin” of stress is released from your mind, your mind starts thinking more clearly and you start getting back to creative mode.
Frequent cycles of “idleness” in between short spurts of work help to keep stress within manageable levels and prevents burnouts.
You Improve the quality of your Life
Has your life become, one big never-ending routine of work and deadlines?
Are you missing on the small joys in life and find no time for yourself, your passions, your hobbies, and most of all, your family?”
“Nothingness” gives your brain the time to think, the time for self-reflection, in which you can take back control of your life and do all those things that matter the most to you. It helps you to establish the work-life balance which has been eluding you for so long, in spite of your best efforts.
The world over, whiling away time is actually becoming a movement as people realize the pointlessness of constantly running on a treadmill of activity.
It has depleted their vitality to such an extent that, they can no longer function as normal human beings. “Nothingness” gives you a chance to resume a well-balanced life rather than being a robot always.
So where do I start being idle?
Short answer; start with yourself first.
So next time when you are stuck up, in a traffic jam, or waiting at the airport for a delayed flight, or even waiting for a movie to start, stop playing with your phone and muttering curses under your breath. Instead, let your mind wander aimlessly to faraway places or let it be absolutely blank.
As Keanu Reeves said rightly
“A blank slate is the best place to begin afresh”.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed and learned something new from this article. If so, leave a like and a tip if you super-liked what you have read just now. See you - Mythili