Somewhere along the way we heard that Bill Watterson said that when he works, it never looks like it. For him, working was staring up at the clouds and coming up with ideas for Calvin and Hobbes. Doing what to others looks like nothing is sometimes the greatest catalyst for producing our best work. Do you demand of yourself to create this precious time?
Most of us by now understand the wisdom of slowing down. We innately get that when we allow ourselves to be idle, in neutral, simply being, and with no schedule, we are rejuvenated. And in this state, ideas spring up more easily and come to us with greater clarity.
There are all kinds of excuses that are used to justify always staying busy, “well if everyone else would slow down, then I would too.” “I’ll lose my edge if I slow down.” “This is how I am naturally, I just always like to do things.” “I don’t want to be the only one that takes time off. Everyone will think I’m lazy.” And on and on…
Who decided that endlessly pursuing the next, getting to the next thing, and the next rung on the ladder is the best way to live? Did you decide that? Or, are you just following suit and going along with it? Do you know what’s at the top of the ladder? (Pause a moment with this question.) Are you sure that you want that?
Can you spend a day doing nothing “productive” without getting antsy and anxious to get something accomplished? Do you remember what it was like being a kid? Another great Bill Watterson quote: “There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” Remember what that felt like? Most of us need more of this kind of time.
If you must twist it into something productive, think about this time as the fertilizer for your creativity. If we are constantly in production mode we have no room for new ideas to get born. We need this idle time. This “do nothing” space. And, we need to be ok if all that nothing produces nothing as well.
To respecting doing nothing