Issue #65, January 2019
Welcome to Insights and Implications!
Are you busy? Chances are, your answer is yes. But are you busy doing what‘s important to you? Or do you feel that someone else is dictating how you use your time? Read on to learn how an understanding of the mind can help you regain control.
Wishing you insights,
All of us at Insight Principles
Are You Busy?
I love greeting cards. I recently came across a card with this humorous message:
If I’m so busy,
How come I’m not rich?
It does seem that everyone you ask these days says they are busy. I wouldn’t be surprised if the last time someone asked how you were doing you answered, “Good, just busy.”
But not everyone is rich. How come?
The truth is, just because you are “busy” does not mean you are successful or that you get a lot done. Being busy simply means you are filling up all your available time. But with what? Are you filling your time with things that are in harmony with your values and your purpose? Or is staying busy somewhat of a status symbol?
Many of us innocently think being busy indicates we are important or needed. When you think there is a positive reward for being busy in the form of a good feeling, you fill your days. But feeling good because you are busy only works because you programmed that idea into your mind. Being busy can’t make you feel good about yourself. Your feelings about yourself (good or bad) come purely from your thinking.
Maybe you feel you have no control over your time or schedule. Prior to a leadership retreat, I interviewed a particularly harried executive. This executive lamented that his home life was suffering due to his work schedule.
I asked him, “Why don’t you work twenty hours a day?” “That would be unreasonable,” he replied. “Do you decide what amount of time at work is reasonable?” He hesitated and said, “I guess I do. It doesn’t feel like my decision though.”
It doesn’t feel like his decision because his thinking was invisible to him, and yet it was running the show, bringing him the experience of not having choice or power. You make choices all day, every day about how to use your time, shaped by your thinking in the moment. You don’t notice your thinking, which makes it appear that someone else is in control making the choices for you. But there is no one else making choices for you.
It really is just you and your thinking.
Part of the brilliant design of the human mind is that the power is inside, not outside. Other people, piles of projects, or pressing deadlines do not have the power to make you execute or to pressure you. Once you realize this, you find yourself being more skillful at saying no to things or being clear when you are asked to do more than is realistic.
I am not saying that time or responsibilities do not exist. If you are late for the airport, you will miss your flight. Completing work projects and family activities takes time. Deadlines are real. There are an endless supply of meetings, emails, and projects to manage. Other people constantly give you things to do. All of these things are real. However, without understanding that life is happening from the inside→out, it appears as if these circumstances create the time pressure you feel about them. This cannot be.
Time is a finite resource. It is also a precious resource. Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” Waking up to where your experience is coming from helps you decide how best to use your time. You are less likely to be pressured into doing things of little value if you recognize where the pressure is coming from.
If you find yourself under pressure and thinking your circumstances are doing it to you, the moment you remember how the mind really works, you stop. You might take a break or pause and regroup. Once in balance, you will see what you need and where to allocate your efforts.
The mental freedom that comes with knowing how your mind works allows you enjoy your life and have the clarity to get done what you need to get done. Someday, you might just respond with: “I’m good! I have all the time I need.”