Does Busy Really get Sh*t Done?
The Hustler Mentality
'You just got to hustle, hustle, hustle' - a familiar piece of rhetoric in the current landscape. There are times when I feel like I could be doing a lot more. In such times I have noticed a tendency to beat myself up over my perceived procrastination. I wonder why I don't have the same energy levels as the hustler archetype and I conclude that he or she is just more talented or hard working.
It can easily feel like I need more energy and more time in order to become more effective and get sh*t done but when I put this logic to the test it almost always fails. Instead of being more effective I just end up feeling like I have been hustled into purchasing a one way ticket to burnout.
So why isn't hustling the magic X factor? On further inspection I begin to see that hustling is simply a variable to a much larger equation. Hustling doesn't make you a more effective person it just means you are taking more action. Whether that action is effective or ineffective is a function of your level of skill and your capacity for insight and realisation.
Hustling when taken in isolation is based on the premise that all thinking is equal when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. One trail of thought can take you from zero to hero in a fraction of a second while another trail of thought can have you lying in bed crying in frustration and cursing the world about the exact same situation.
Busy is a state of Mind
Be quick but don't hurry - John Wooden
I wish I had known a little earlier that busy is a state of mind and not a personality trait I was cursed with. The busy feeling isn't an indicator that I am in productivity mode rather it is an indicator that I need to take a break.
That busy feeling has the same function as the engine light in a car, it is telling me to slow down and pull over at the next convenient opportunity. The quality of my thinking suffers when I am in busy mode. I lose perspective, clarity and a sense of relaxation - basically all the traits that one would associate with a state of flow.
In busy mode I feel eager to find the solution to the problem, pass the exam and get the job all at once. I feel like I need to prove something to myself and to the world, I feel like I need to prove that I am worthy of love, success and respect.
In this state I lack the clarity and foresight to focus on the simple questions that will cut to the core of the real problem I am seeking to solve. Finding new questions requires some space for reflection and introspection and my busy mind cannot comprehend how this would be useful.
My busy mind thinks that slowing down equals lost time and that introspection is something that hippies made up. This line of thinking makes perfect sense to my busy mind. The problem is that the busy mind is completely unaware to the existence of other states of mind more grounded in reflection in much the same way that a child tucked safely into his or her car seat and toy wheel thinks that he/she is the one steering the car.
A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that's unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than to push - Ludwig Wittgenstein
The good news is that you are not your state of mind, you are not a busy person, sometimes you will feel busy but you are experiencing a state of mind and not an identity that has wrapped around you like a proverbial straight jacket destining you to a restless life of despair.
Space Cake Questions - shift from Busy to Reflective
Have you ever found yourself stumped by the logic of an inverse question? This happens to me all the time and it never ceases to amaze me how utterly lost I feel when it happens. It is as if there is a whole other world that I have remained blissfully unaware of my whole life.
On a brain level a light can be shone on this peculiar phenomenon with a cognitive bias called the confirmation bias. This is the tendency to interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions, leading to statistical errors.
What the thinker thinks, the prover proves - Robert Anton Wilson
I guess the freedom in this bias lies in the fact that my confirmation bias also holds vast amounts of my limiting beliefs. When I take the time to examine some of my most limiting and debilitating beliefs it isn't long before I begin to see some of the flawed assumptions wrapped up in my confirmation bias.
'If I admit that I was wrong people will lose respect for me'. 'Being productive feels great but it comes with the sacrifice of hard work and stress'. The list is endless, my recent conversation with Micheal Neill has allowed me to gain more clarity around the productivity assumption I have held on to for so long.
These assumptions can also look like - 'I am no good with computers'. This assumption was built into my human operating system until I got curious and began to learn about computers with a more open mind.
Over to you ...
If it feels to you like there is a direct correlation between feeling busy and getting stuff done consider the following question - what if you are getting things done in spite of feeling busy? I would love to heard any insights that may arise for you as you reflect on this simple question.