“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” ~Socrates
Americans (and perhaps most westerners) love to be busy. We are proud of it. Ask someone how they are doing and they will gleefully tell you, “Oh man, I am buried. I’ve got so much going on, I can’t see straight.” He might as well be happy about his dangerously high cholesterol or his crushing debt.
It’s not just that busyness stands in the way of accomplishment and productivity, or that it hinders your friendships and takes you away from your family. It is not just that the dilution of your attentions hurts you. Something much more insidious is going on. Being “too busy” is your ready excuse for every failure, every missed deadline, and every subpar performance. It is your means to shift responsibility to anything but yourself. At what cost? Only this: once you cede responsibility to someone or something else, you have lost all your power.
It is now someone else’s “fault”, something outside of your control is “to blame”. The danger of blaming cannot be understated. It is the most costly kind of judgment. It robs you of control and it shackles your claim to creativity.
“Busy-ness is overrated.” click to tweet
The answer is not to play small or to limit your commitments. The issue is entirely attitudinal. So when someone asks how you are doing, go with “Incredible things are happening, so much is flowing.” Own it. Take responsibility. Rather, keep the responsibility, don’t let anyone or anything take it away. Busy may equal blame, but responsibility equals power.
Where has busy gotten in your way and where have you transcended it? Share your experiences below by commenting.
Photo credit: Gabriel Rojas Hruska
3 thoughts on “You Aren’t Busy, You’re Blaming”
Americans are addicted to busy. People think you are some kind of lazy slacker if you aren’t busy all the time.
I love how you helped shift perspective and agree.
Many years ago (from high school through my corporate life …) I was a workaholic. “Busy” was my badge of honor. If I wasn’t sleepy, something was “wrong.” It wasn’t until I had a health crisis that I realized what I was doing.
For me, saying “yes” to almost every opportunity was a way to “earn” love from others.
Today, it is not about being busy. It is about being in purpose. Actively taking ownership of what I do and don’t do. Loving me for simply being me and taking control of the choices I make. I still get amazing amounts of things done, but I’m not busy.
Can you be absolutely certain you function better while busy? What if you didn’t believe that thought?