Why Doing Nothing Is The Answer To Doing Everything


Well, not exactly nothing. You see, that’s the secret.

Nothing is Everything.

Think of Nothing as Stillness.

Think of Nothing as Space.

Think of Nothing as the way to make room for Doing.

Let me break it down.

Our days are noisy, noisy, noisy.

There’s the external noise…Home, work, traffic, the radio, Youtube, televisions, our phones, relationships…

Then, there’s the internal noise, in my opinion the noisiest noise of them all…The constant internal chatter of our minds. Some of it necessary as we solve a problem or decide what to do next. But most of it superfluous and somewhat oppressive as we perseverate on what we did yesterday, on what someone told us this morning, on even decisions we made years ago. As we tell ourselves we aren’t good enough or berate ourselves endlessly. The constant judgments, analysis, the holding onto grudges, the processing of our emotions. Our constant thoughts. It’s so NOISY!

And when there’s so much noise, we are in a sense constantly multi-tasking even if we don’t think we are. We are processing all of this noise while we also do the business of going through our days.

We live in a world of distractions.

A UC Irvine Study showed that it takes an average of 23 minutes to refocus our efforts after just one interruption. Imagine what is then happening in our brains if we are constantly getting pinged, called, paged, notified, emailed, while all the while our brains are processing all of those interruptions STILL from the day before or longer? I get tired just (re) thinking about it!

So, what’s the ANTIDOTE?

That’s where Nothing comes in.

Nothing is finding Stillness…Where in your day can you find a refuge from all of this constant noise? Sure, I would love to hear you are meditating daily and maybe that’s your refuge. But not everyone does that so where else can we find stillness when we feel so busy? And even if you are meditating, there are still ways to amplify your Nothing-ness!

  1. What if you grab stillness instead of grabbing more distractions?

    -Close your eyes and breathe in the waiting room for your next appointment instead of looking at your phone or a magazine?

    -Breathe and relax in the next line instead of getting anxious about the wait? Think of it as a mini-vacation in the day.

    -Don’t touch your phone for the first 30-60 minutes of the day?

    -The next time you drink your coffee or tea, do NOTHING but make, sip and enjoy that drink until the end? Make it your still time of the day.

  2. When you grab stillness, you make more SPACE in your day.

    -Each and every time you are still, you create spaciousness. You create ROOM for your mind to expand and relax, ROOM for your heart to feel more deeply, ROOM for your body to feel sensations and hear messages.

    -Each and every time you slow down for STILLNESS, you quiet the distractions and you can feel lighter.

    -The truth is that my true source of Joy blossoms from times of stillness.

    How many times have you been so immersed in presence, truly listening to someone, and found time was STILL? To truly connect, we need to still our hearts and minds. And connection is Joy.

    How many times have you lost yourself in nature, either physically or mentally, and felt like the day stopped for that time? It’s because you are truly connecting to your environment. To the world around you.

    When we stop and give ourselves the gift of really soaking in the moment, we give ourselves the gift of spaciousness. And that includes the spaciousness of feeling like time is expanding but also our hearts are expanding along with that.

  3. When you grab stillness, you then are able to do what you need to do with more attention.

    -If it takes us 23 minutes to refocus, when can we actually refocus in a constant barrage of doing? To do more, we need to do Nothing as well. We need to make friends with stillness.

    -We get so uncomfortable with no Noise, that we create noise even in the few times of the day that are actually quiet. We fill those times with news, email, mindless internet surfing, our own mind chatter.

    The Lighter we feel, the more attention we can give, and the more satisfied we feel.

It’s time to understand that doing Nothing is EVERYTHING.

Doing NOTHING is the MOST IMPORTANT thing we can actually do each day.

So, today, start to find some stillness when you can. When you feel the urge to pick up your phone, computer, or turn on the television, first stop, look around and listen. If you don’t hear anything, that might be the most critical moment of the day. It might be the moment when you can choose to make a difference. The moment when you can CHOOSE NOTHING.

Set Nothing as your #1 Daily To-Do.

And remember, choosing Nothing is Everything.

Live well,

Tanmeet Sethi6 Comments