When It’s Better To Do Nothing

do nothingThere are 1440 minutes in a day. With each day, you find yourself in a multitude of scenarios and situations, some pleasant and some not so pleasant. Often, you have to juggle the good with the bad. If you find yourself in one of the following circumstances, always remember that sometimes the best thing to do… is nothing.

You are feeling paranoid. Merriam-Webster defines paranoia as “having or showing an unreasonable feeling that people are trying to harm you, do not like you, etc.” This feeling can throw your thoughts and actions into an irrational, anxious, and chaotic state. Honestly, most of the things you are fretting over, will never even come to be, and were never designed to. Do nothing during this state. Instead, sit down and envision a reality full of tranquility and harmony. It is always better to reside in a harmonious space than a paranoid one.

You have no idea what you’re talking about. I know an awkward silence is, well, awkward.  But try to refrain from blurting out any old thing. Remember that the things you say matter, people are listening, judging, and making opinions. If you have nothing of value to say or to add to a conversation, by all means, do nothing. Say nothing. Never feel compelled to fill the void an awkward silence leaves.

You are feeling tired. Sleep is the best medicine; it does wonders for curing the dreaded creativity block that can haunt you throughout the workday and into the wee hours of the morning. Stay away from all night projects, papers, presentations, or emails- you are not at your best. Instead, opt to do nothing and rest, the creative juices will naturally begin flowing again once your body resets.

You are feeling angry.  Anger is a strong and passionate emotion. Working from a place of anger can be a driving force for some, but all in all, it can do more harm than good. Reaching your goal by being propelled by anger has gotten you to your end result, but at what cost? How many important people have been hurt in the process? What things have been said that you wish you could take back? There are almost always casualties of anger. Wait until you settle and gain some clarity and perspective.

You want someone else to flourish. In the words of former President Harry S. Truman, “You can accomplish just about anything if you don’t care who gets the credit.” Doing the work for your new trainee may speed things along for you in the short-term, but it causes harm in the long-term. Walk them through how to do each task, let them know that you believe in their abilities then give them a chance to prove you right. Teach by giving them the space to fly, with a bit of initial guidance of course.  Same goes for a child, younger sibling, and even spouse! Try this: The next time you are in a meeting at work, instead of jumping at the chance to answer a question immediately, allow everyone the time to process, internalize, and speak. Stay silent long enough for others to arrive at their own conclusions. Think of every interaction as a chance for growth. Through the allowance of others to flourish, you in turn, continue to grow as well.

When confronted with any of these situations, focus on when you are happiest. Work to get back to that place, center yourself. Make the most of every minute in you day by tapping into your inner self and working on the art of doing nothing.

Doing nothing