Stop the Glorification of Busy!

Posted March 13, 2013 by Rebecca Niziol in Life After Five

We are human beings not human doings… yet we’ve become a culture that glorifies busyness. Almost as though the more things you have on your calendar, and the more you’ve checked off your to-do list, the better the person.

Action, doing, and taking figurative and literal steps forward are necessary to live a successful and fulfilling life. Doing is how we turn our dreams into reality. But when doing takes over so completely that we forget to be, to exist, and to enjoy, what happens? When we start to measure our self-worth by how much we accomplish, what is the affect?

I’ll tell you. We burn out. We get incredibly overwhelmed. We stay in jobs that make us stressed, unhappy, and even sick. We start valuing accomplishment more than we value fun, and we forget that a stress free and easy life is possible. We feel empty without action, and uncomfortable when we aren’t doing. We find ourselves in a constant chase after what we want, when what we have offers us the opportunity to feel happy and fulfilled right now.

We’ve actually become uncomfortable with being. And it’s costing us our health and happiness.

As a yoga teacher, I see it all the time. Each class is closed with about five minutes of stillness and silence lying down in savasana. I often just observe how people react to that opportunity to simply be in their own presence, without anything to do. Some surrender, and those people find peace and relief. While others lie tormented by the lack of activity. Their bodies fidget and twitch, their minds race, and they clearly are struggling to do nothing more than BE on their mat.

You can see the same thing when people are out and about. We instantly grab our phones when there’s a break in conversation or activity. A quick text or tweet becomes our crutch, allowing us to avoid being in the moment fully. It is as if sitting alone at the dinner table would be the most uncomfortable thing imaginable.

Are you guilty of these sort of things?

It’s okay. We all are. But here’s your chance to take a step back and do a little less and be more. Take a moment, and be honest, how often do you do absolutely nothing and allow yourself to enjoy being in the present moment? When was the last time you sat down and did nothing (no tv, no email, no phone, no mental checklist)?

If you struggled to think of the last time, I invite you to create more space and time for being. It is one of the most powerful choices you can make. It is what thought leaders and gurus have been trying to teach us for ages… Simply be.

 But how do we start being when were so used to doing all the time?

  1. Set aside time for being. It’s been proven that as little at 10-15 minutes a day is enough to shift your energy and mindset. Some people have a meditation practice for this. Others take time to lie down in sunshine for a while. It doesn’t have to be fancy or extremely time consuming. The only rule is: do nothing. Set a timer or reminder if you need. And then, stick with it, and commit to taking those precious minutes doing nothing, no matter what.
  2. Sit in discomfort. This is a practice, and its not always easy. But over time you will become more comfortable with doing nothing, and in fact, that will likely become your favorite part of the day. If it feels weird or uneasy at first, that’s normal. Allow yourself to feel that way, and keep doing it anyways. Resist the temptation to grab a magazine, or check your phone. Those things will be there, right now is the time to be in the moment with no distractions.
  3. Let go of any limiting beliefs. Your value and worth as a person is no higher as a human being if you do more. I promise. Doing more might mean you have a fuller schedule, or more money in your bank account, but it will not make you any more of a whole or complete person. Replace that belief with a new one: “I am my most powerful and valuable when I am being. I do not need to do anything to prove my self worth.”
  4. Check yourself. Notice when you start to glorify busyness again. It’s a pattern we all fall back into. Instead glorify being you, and being present. Many of the world’s most powerful and successful leaders know how important this is, and they ensure they balance all of their productive action with time for quieting their mind and slowing down their bodies. If you start going on a “doing overdrive,” consciously bring yourself back towards the state of being as often as you can.


Be who you are, be in the moment, be alive.



About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.