Do nothing

Do nothing: the two most pleasing words on some days.

On a regular basis, I love giving myself the permission to not act, to not react, to not do. I give myself space, lots and lots of empty space. There are no words, thoughts or deeds trying to fill it. Simply, a spacious room with the sun streaming in, where I can meander aimlessly, guiltlessly, savouring the feeling of nothingness.

On these days, I just am. Incoherent, if need be. Poetic, if that’s what chooses to form. Shapeless, fluid, whimsical. There is a relief in these moments, to occupy space in an unplanned manner. It’s a sort of freedom, to see what form I do take, prepared to reject if I don’t like what I see, ready to accept if that’s what juices the senses. Trusting something outside of me because I have suspended all of my faculties.

Do nothing. I want a tee-shirt with this emblazoned on it boldly. It’s a revolutionary call in this day and age, where the urge is to squeeze in more than is desirable or even possible. Instead of the overstuffing, I recommend deflating. Let the air out. Quieten the noise around. See what reveals in the space. It’s a good life practice.

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About Archana

I'm Indian and Canadian, and many other countries in between. I read comics every morning and believe the world could do with slowing down.
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10 Responses to Do nothing

  1. Kurian says:

    Interesting idea Archana

    • Archana says:

      We keep getting told, give 110%. What if 80% is more fruitful? I saw this question on a Harvard Business Review feed. I haven’t read the article yet, but it’s a provocative question. I’ve always believed i need to step away from something in order to give it my best, as opposed to obsessing about it relentlessly and getting totally spent. Hence, weekends are not for working! It has made me a better worker, I’m convinced. Your thoughts?

      • Kurian says:

        Hello Archana, I wrote a fairly big response and posted. No idea where it’s gone. I will do it again, this time sensibly so that even the system will not reject it

      • Kurian says:

        Hello Archana, I promised to write again for the missed comments
        I agree on the weekend working fully. When I started working in India, it was on weekends also. Then when abroad weekend was for relaxing and family. Yes I fared better
        It pays to do nothing when faced with hard choices. Most things get normal with good night sleep.

      • Kurian says:

        Do nothing have other uses. When we bought home in kochi waterfront, the hall and kitchen were some of the largest anywhere. I said I like open spaces and the huge kitchen and two sofa hall are attractions. I did nothing, others made more partitions

      • Kurian says:

        And saving on not buying unnecessary. Well I have to listen to you now. Saving potential is huge.
        Thank you Archana 🌹

  2. Kurian says:

    Archana, initially I took the literal meaning. It’s a great slogan. Applicable to many life situations.
    I have not seen the Harvard post. But reading your post again I can visualise (I think) what you have in mind.
    Irrespective of anything there’re situations:
    – I have to react to an embarrassing situation. I am emotional and could make a mistake. Do nothing, sleep over it. And there’s an automatic solution in the morning
    – This is real life. Our place in kochi comes with one of the biggest kitchens. Interior artists and others split it into 2 or 3. Do nothing and we have the best kitchen
    – Same with the large hall. Instead of building separators, keep open. Do nothing and just have two sofa sets in the large open living space
    – and your point again. Spend much less by ‘do nothing

  3. Kurian says:

    Hello Archana, is this the HBR item you spoke about?
    https://hbr.org/2018/06/in-praise-of-extreme-moderation

    • Archana says:

      Hi Kurian,

      Sorry for the delay, the week got in the way 🙂

      That sounds like the right article – i hadn’t read it, and now i did thanks to you. i had seen the headline on my twitter feed, which prompted my blogpost.

      You added a nice angle to the Do Nothing philosophy – sleeping on things to overcome the impulse is definitely one of the best ways to avoid doing harm, and i’ve benefited from this too.

      Your home sounds lovely. I’m so glad you didn’t chop it up into tiny cubicles. Old-style homes are my favourite, with the open concept, fluidity of movement, and how you could easily see and talk to other family members from any part of the home.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments, it’s good fun to bounce ideas back and forth.

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