“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction”
– Albert Einstein
Our modern world is fraught with endless distractions, drama, and needless complexity. It is nearly impossible to round a corner without meeting some one or some thing else which would demand our attention. Now, if the physical world is a threat to our focus, then the digital one is a deliberate and sadistic trap baited with all of the sweetest things. Worse still? Being busy is compelling. There’s a certain satisfaction in being able to look back at all the things you’ve accomplished over a day. The “Western World” has made “busyness” a status symbol, but what are we missing as a result?
Firstly, it’s important to remember that being busy really means nothing at all. It’s entirely possible for a person to be completely occupied from the beginning to the end of every day without accomplishing any real thing. Just as importantly, not every accomplishment is of any value. Instead, perhaps the better goal would be to let our working be towards something or not to work at all.
One of the greatest offenders in today’s world is entertainment. Movies, video games, and television have become a strong component of our culture, but they often hold little value at all. I don’t mean to disparage enjoying art or gleaning knowledge from an intellectual narrative, but I will say that much of entertainment is “brain candy”. That is, like it’s dietary counterpart, it’s of no value to your sustenance.
A great indicator is to monitor your own feelings while enjoying your favorite television show or movie. Are you tense as you’re watching? If so, you’re not benefiting from an opportunity to relax. Is your breathing and posture in a healthy manner? If not, you are again missing a chance to heal and improve yourself while you take a break from your actual endeavors. Just as vitally: would you be willing to go without your leisure just for today? If not, it’s possible your recreation has become a compulsion.
Don’t let the trivial tasks of your day become binding. Remember that no matter how endearing you find the characters in your favorite drama, you have no actual obligation to watch tonight’s episode.
All of this goes beyond time management, as well. Simplicity is just as important in our financial habits as in our productivity. I believe the argument stands that time and money are the greatest resources we are challenged to manage; an addiction to possessions will leave you empty and broke. Having a thing which has a purpose in your life can be a blessing. Possessing something which provides no value, however, is just another burden to care for. Don’t let a competitive impulse to outdo your neighbor, friend, or co-worker be the thing which keeps you from succeeding with money.
There’s some debate on the origin of the statement, but the message is what matters: Don’t let the things you possess take possession of you.
Thank you for your time.