What you’ll gain by doing nothing (and it’s all good!)
Anything is better than nothing. We tell ourselves this constantly. When it comes to making progress. When it comes to our workouts. When it comes to writing. When it comes to planning. We tell ourselves to just. do. something.
I extol the advice on the regular to do something, anything, no matter how small, in an effort to find direction. Anything is better than nothing. Nothing does simply that…nothing.
Or does it?
Something that took me a long time to figure out is the life-giving power of stillness. There’s an indescribable magic that shows up when we sit in an open and removed space – when we step away from busy, when we choose not to distract, when we stay, when we’re still. It seems like nothing, but often it can be everything. Stillness gives you perspective that movement never could. And both are needed – the stillness needed in order to see, and the movement to get to what you’re seeing.
Here’s what stillness looks like: a few days of no plans. A night alone. A day unscheduled. Time spent with no one but yourself. Hours in your head. A long bath without anyone around. A week saying no to everything other than your immediate family. Exploring the city without your phone. Even a trip, solo. Eating lunch alone in your car with the radio blaring on your break.
Stillness looks like whatever you need it to to feel still. But we don’t often let that happen. We fill it with all the things, all the people, all the work, all the activities. We need this stillness because where there is nothing, there is everything. But instead we use our lack of busy-ness to tell ourselves that if we are doing nothing, then we are nothing. Which could not be further from the truth.
Rather, stillness teaches us. It teaches us to know ourselves beyond the things that we do and the identities we take on. It teaches us the magic that shows up in going slower. It teaches us that when the distractions fall off, we can see, really see, the pure love and purpose we possess without having to achieve a single thing. In stillness we can find clarity, because finally the energy of our experiences will settle, revealing the perspective only made possible by slowing it all down.
Turn the dial back on your pace. You can slow down time by slowing down. And when you do, when you get still, you’ll realize that the faster hustle doesn’t mean more joy, more success, or more to achieve. It just means more movement and less presence. Find a way to find stillness, and don’t judge it when you do.
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