Picture this: You are in a hurry rushing into an office complex, your destination is the 9th floor so you head to the lift in the lobby. There, you meet 3 people waiting and the light to call the lift is already on—they are also waiting to go up. What do you do? Research and experience shows that most of us will still push the same lit button to call for the lift. And even when in the lift, we push our floor button even when it is lit showing that someone else has pushed it.
Whether in traffic, in waiting for our spouse, in pulling printed documents out of the office printer, this scenario plays out in everyday life one way or the other begging the question of why we make futile efforts when we are still on track to achieve the same objective.
Eat that frog, just do it, keep walking and a host of many other phrases have preconditioned our minds to be busy. Hence, we see a lack of action on our parts as being detrimental to our overall objective. We fail to access the situation relative to our goal but are rather process oriented for the wrong reasons. We want to look busy and give off the air of not having enough time, of being pulled in various directions to make the observer feel we are of more importance than we really are.
These days, the busy in business is over emphasized and most businesses are done for the wrong reasons- to be busy. We find a business owner maintaining three to four personal mobile phones on the pretext of having a line for different customer segments so she is easily reachable, when a simple call waiting setting will save us the hassles. No wonder the overhead costs of most businesses seem to be rising year on year even as income remains constant, or is dwindling.
Motivational speakers have made us stick with a lopsided interpretation of the first law of motion. They emphasize the need for an external force to act, forgetting that the fictional object continues in a straight line towards the set objective in the absence of that external force.
Consequently, people no longer stick with investment plans for more than 1 year, we all change plans; buy and sell stocks in the name of gaining a few extra percentage on our investments. When in reality these gains are nullified by the cost of moving these funds. We change jobs on a whim and tell ourselves that the movement underlines our relevance. We just keep moving, and moving doesn’t matter whether in circles, or backwards. We keep moving- exerting external forces on our best laid plans.
While there is something to be said for the school of thought that believes in action, we should also reason that waiting or inaction does not equate laziness. Waiting patiently, especially, with a plan is the ultimate sign of determination. In the words of the great Emperor Augustus “Festina Lante” which translates to “make haste slowly”. Take time out to Just Do Nothing and watch things work out according to plan.