One of the first lessons I’m re-learning after deciding to make 2024 “The Year of No More Bullshit” is that it’s better to do nothing than something that makes no sense. Not just sometimes, but often. Almost always, in fact.
To someone with plenty of motivation, doing is the easy part. Busy is the default, and there’s always another project to complete, another person to meet, another hobby to pursue, game to play, or cool event to organize. But if you only take breaks when you need them, you’ll have no time to ask whether what you’re up to actually adds up. Usually, that’s exactly what we want: to escape the emptiness rather than face it. Why sit and wonder when you can just keep going?
The problem with not looking where you’re driving is that if not off a cliff, at the very least, you’ll drive yourself mad or into the ground. The alternative is tolerating nothingness. Which one is easier? That’s hard to say. But sooner or later, everyone gets tired of being tired. Perhaps dropping the external fight for an internal one is worth it. Sit. Meditate. Learn patience. Filter everything through your excellent bullshit radar, and whatever smells funny, let it float right by — like a piece of driftwood on the river of time.
It can be hard for me to sit and watch. To complete only two tasks in a day and accept that it was still a productive one. To watch a movie without taking notes or thinking about some work issue. Occasionally, however, I receive a reminder that it only takes a few good moments per year to make the progress you’d like to make. Some amount of daily increment on the right priorities, sure, but beyond that, more carefully chosen, deliberate bursts of effort than a constant stream of wasted busyness.
I’ve worked less since my traffic took a hit, but my revenue hasn’t moved all that much. I’ve had small investments made years ago blossom into good chunks of money much later. And sometimes, people message me out of the blue to compliment me on a piece I published years ago.
Doing more only wins when what you’re doing is essential to your mission. You’ll never be able to filter out all the noise, but if you’re unsure about a task’s purpose, chances are, it doesn’t have one. Choose nothing over nonsense, and learn to convert emptiness into inner peace. Whether you use the extra space for more reflection, family time, or simply to enjoy the moment, in the long run, we tend to regret running around more than sitting around — especially if the latter happens with the right people, and the former is done at the behest of the wrong ones.