The Real Reason You’re So Busy

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Thomas Edison was an incredible inventor, and a terrible fisherman. Thomas fished for an hour a day, and never caught a thing. Later in life someone asked him about it.

“I really never caught any fish because I have never used any bait….When you fish without bait, people don’t bother you and neither do the fish. It provides me my best time to think.” An hour a day, to be still and quiet and to be with his thoughts. Out of that time came the phonograph, the lightbulb and motion pictures.  Is that kind of stillness and quiet even possible in today’s world?

Life seems to be getting busier and busier. For some of us, just getting together for coffee or dinner now requires a month’s advance notice. And that is only tentative, as unexpected events arise, pushing the get-together out another month or so. As a culture, we have learned to stay busy. By now it feels very normal and we just don’t value slowing down. Staying busy feeds our need to feel important. We wear it as a badge of honor or status symbol. Staying busy also distracts us from uncomfortable thoughts and feelings we have with our past, present and future.

And there is something deeper going on here. While all the above is true, the deeper reason many of us stay so busy is from an undercurrent of restlessness. Restlessness shows up in our lives like a carrot on a stick of when/then: “When I do ______, then I’ll be okay.” When I become CEO, marry that man, move to Chicago, make one million dollars, earn their approval or respect, get them to like me…then I’ll be okay. But it’s a fallacy that keeps us always striving and never arriving. Each time we reach the goalpost, it moves. Being okay then means I’m never okay now. And it’s this sense of not being okay right now that generates the unceasing restlessness that drives the busyness we’ve created with our lives.

Do you know the simplest way to clean dirty water? Let it settle. The natural state of water is clear. In rest, it will always return to its natural clearness. Consider that the natural state of human is wellness. Wellbeing is already inside us, and our access to it is through rest and quiet. Being still allows everything that’s not well (and not who we really are) to settle and get out of the way.

Trying to escape this deep restlessness with endless activity only creates more restlessness right now. Each move we make in order to get to being okay only churns the water of our lives, making it murkier than before. It makes more “not okay right now” to come from. Wellbeing is not a place to get to, it’s a place to come from.

Werner Erhard suggested that people will give anything in order to become enlightened, except the belief that they’re not already enlightened. The same is true with wellbeing. People will give up anything to finally be okay, except the belief they’re not already okay. In stillness we can experience just how okay we are already. From that place, every action becomes an expression of the wellbeing that’s been there all along.

For more on this conversation, check out these previous posts: You Are Never Not Okay and Slow-Down Low-Down.

Be Great!


Becky Henderson
Becky Henderson
I am a catalyst to uncover the blocks and barriers getting in your way of creating the life you desire. Together we can transform the obstacles into opportunities. I listen to what you say…and what you do not say. Similar to a mirror, I show you what you cannot see on your own right now, and tell you what is necessary to create the results you are looking for. I value who you are and where you want to go in life.
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