You guys may have noticed, I am what I would call a “born-productive” person (click here to listen to my podcast episode on that topic), which means that doing nothing is extremely hard for me. I love planning, organizing and being active. To some of you, this may sound perfect but let me tell you that it can really easily turn into a nightmarish situation. It is indeed quite complicated to be always active as it is in silence and calm that great ideas are created. Thus, I would like to share with you the main reasons why, even though that may look counterinutitive, doing less makes you do more.
Stress brings nothing good.
Some of you may start by saying that there is “good” and “bad” stress and I might agree, but I have personally never experienced “good” stress. We usually call “good” stress the one that makes us do things and be active but for someone who is too active, that “good” stress is no better than “bad” stress. To me, stress is always “bad” stress and I think everyone has experienced it. An example may do the trick: let’s say you are running late and that stresses you out. You start trying to do every step of your morning routine at once and you end up realizing that you are doing everything wrong: your coffee is now cold, you comb fell on the ground and broke and your eyeliner looks terrible. Sounds familiar? It is because you are stressed out and trying to do everything at once, thus doing everything wrong. Stress leads to intense activity, but this activity does not make you productive as you are doing many many things, but you are doing these many many things wrong. Thus, next time you are running late, take two minutes, sit down and do breathing exercises. Of course, it may sound weird to take a break in the middle of this chaos, but it will make you be far more productive afterwards. It is worth doing “nothing” for two minutes, believe me. The calmer, the more productive.
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Ideas come when doing nothing.
Have you ever sat on a couch, waiting for time to pass? This may feel weird, but in his Pensées, Pascal said that if men and women were unhappy, it was because they were unable to spend time doing nothing, sitting in their bedroom. Well, he truly said that but as I read the book in French, my translation may be imperfect lol. This book was published in 1670, which means that this difficulty we have to do nothing has nothing to do with social media or TV, it is deeply linked to our human nature.
Thus, do not blame yourself for struggling to do absolutely nothing, it is indeed really hard. Nonetheless, it is also really useful. If you practice doing nothing fro five minutes a day (not necessarily meditating but doing NOTHING), you will see that ideas get created in your brain. Ideas come and go, but it is only when you are completely calm and silent that you can grab them and write them down in order to remember them. It is by doing nothing that you can get new ideas, and that is how the best ideas got created.
Thus, as over-activity (linked to stress) makes you do less and total calm makes you have innovative ideas, it is clearly by sitting down and getting calmer that you can do more. It is indeed by calming your nerves that you manage to get on time at that appointment and by sitting alone in a silent room that you get new ideas and get inspired. Thus, never feel bad for wanting to do nothing, and never feel productive simply because you are doing a lot of things. Society lied to you: running from one place to the other is not being “productive”, it is being “busy”.
N.B. I wanted to use today’s post to share with you a subscriber’s video. He kindly sent it to me, asking if I could share it with you guys and I thought “yes, I can!”. We are all a community and I am always thrilled when I receive your messages telling me how much you have improved in your minimalism/ self-development journey. It makes me even happier when I see that I have played even a small part in these life changes. Anyway, you can click here to see Matthew’s video about how he cleaned his childhood’s room using the KonMari method. I am very proud of him and I think this could also inspire you.