How to Embrace Doing Nothing

How to Embrace Doing Nothing

Working hard is great.

Accomplishment and achievement are definitely part of happiness and life satisfaction.

But they’re not everything. In fact, we can’t have them without something else. And that’s nothing!

Switching off allows us to switch on.

Rest and recovery allow us to perform.

But too many don’t allow themselves downtime because of its bad reputation. If you’d like to be better at doing nothing, read on …

via the Atlantic by Arthur C Brooks

In the midst of financial news that seems to get grimmer by the day, one story of a man trying to escape caught my eye. Andrew Formica, the 51-year-old CEO of a $68 billion investment firm, abruptly quit his job. He did not have another job waiting—or anything else, it seems. When pressed about his plans, he said, “I just want to go sit at the beach and do nothing.”

Easy, right? Not for a lot of us, it isn’t. Besides the fact that you need to have a good deal of financial security to quit working, “it is awfully hard work doing nothing,” as Algernon said in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. I can relate to this. I work long hours and have sometimes planned to go away and do nothing just for a week or two. But when I try, I find I am utterly incompetent: Idle chitchat drives me crazy; I get the jimmy legs 30 minutes into a movie; sitting on a beach is a form of torture. Whenever I make an effort to rest, my mind always wanders back to the work I am fleeing.

As difficult as it may be, Formica has the right idea. For the sake of happiness, strivers and hard-driving work machines of any income level need to learn to stop. If you are in this category, nothing should be high on your to-do list.

Aristotle defined work as useful activity. Recreation, in his view, was something we did merely to take a break from work—so we could get back to work afterward. Leisure, for him, was different still: an end in itself, the pinnacle of human life—almost divine. The 20th-century philosopher Josef Pieper agreed, calling leisure the “basis of culture.”

For many years, leisure was thought to be the golden promise of prosperity. The economist John Maynard Keynes predicted in 1930 that his grandchildren would be able to work about three hours a day. For Keynes, hard work was not an end in itself, but a means to something more enjoyable: peace and relaxation, free from worldly cares. His prediction assumes that leisure comes naturally, without practice, effort, or experience. But as I can attest, this assumption fails for many people. Perhaps that’s why Keynes conceded that despite the world’s growing prosperity, “there is no country and no people … who can look forward to the age of leisure and of abundance without a dread. For we have been trained too long to strive and not to enjoy.”

… keep reading the full & original article HERE