It's Okay to Admit to Not Being Busy

I was on my evening walk yesterday after work when I came upon this scene. I paused my walk to take in the vista, just letting my mind daydream about anything I noticed and saw right then. After about five minutes of letting my mind go wherever it wanted, I walked on ... actually feeling quite energized.

There's a wonderful article in the New York Times about this mental process that so often gets ignored or demeaned because our culture puts priority on busyness and productivity. Being busy all the time is being used as a badge of honor these days ("I'm so busy because I am just so important."). Daydreaming, doing nothing, is seen as lazy, nonproductive, a waste of time when there's so much that needs to be done. In fact, many people grew up with the old saying, "Idleness is the Devil's playground."

The Dutch actually have a word for this experience of doing nothing - "niksen." It's essentially about stopping, pausing, in order to let your mind wander, like gazing out a window, or simply looking out over a scene (like I did) without any agenda in mind.

Psychologists have picked up this word and are using it as a prescription for mental health and well-being. Research has found that "daydreaming - an inevitable effect of idleness - literally makes us more creative, better at problem-solving, better at coming up with creative ideas. Total idleness is required."

As a result of niksen, stress levels decline, a sense of calm and peace emerge, and the brain receives new energy.

That's exactly what I experienced on my walk. 

So let's hear it for building into our lives more strategic stops designed for simply doing nothing - purposeful pauses for daydreaming. And in so doing, we can reshape our culture away from an obsession with busyness to a more human "being" experience. You might just enjoy it, too.  #TheStrategicStop #changingculture #bringingmorehumanitytotheworkplace #niksen #dontbeafraidofjustdoingnothing #idareyou

Your Most Important Task

Your Most Important Task

Do you ever doubt yourself and your ability to live out your purpose successfully? Do you ever compare yourself to other people and come up short in your estimation? Do you ever wonder what difference you can possibly make in the world when there are so many others doing it better than you? Are you ever tempted to simply crawl back in your hole and let life pass you by because you’re not noticed by anyone anyway?

Whom among us has never felt these doubts and feelings? It’s a part of our tender humanity.

Strategic Stops

Strategic Stops

We live in a caffeinated culture, and I'm not referring to people drinking coffee.

We exist smack dab in the middle of a 24/7, nonstop culture where people are always plugged in and tuned out. We feel constant pressure that with so much going on in the world we need to stay engaged all the time. So many demands on our lives, so little time to fulfill them all. We live with guilt if we don't.

And we're paying the price for this!

You Have Personal Power!

You Have Personal Power!

Many of us tend to have a rather complicated relationship with power. We're at the same time both afraid of it and hungry for it. Our fear of personal power often revolves around two poles - we want to appear humble and not prideful, on the one end, and we don't want to be seen as too pushy or selfish, on the other end.

Be A Rebel!

Be A Rebel!

The older I get the more I realize how significant it is to learn how to say No to some things in order to say Yes to others. And especially to learn which are the more important things to push back against and push forward toward. Here are two strategies for doing this well.

Clarifying Your Calling Will Bring You A Lifetime of Empowerment

I've never heard anyone say it's their Calling to be a janitor

I've definitely known janitors who perform their work with passion and excellence. It inspires me. But as I've watched and listened to them talk about what they do, I've seen that their role isn't their Calling. It's why they do this role--what it is about what they do and how they do it--that helps to identify whether it's a Calling or not.

Are You In a Job or Ministry? Reframing Work to Change Your Whole Experience

Remember the story about the stonecutter centuries ago? He was chiseling a huge piece of stone, pieces of rock flying from his pounding hammer. All the while he was whistling and humming as he worked. A passerby stopped and asked him why he could make music while doing such mundane and arduous work. He said, "I'm not just chiseling stone. I'm making a cathedral."

Four Ways Your Spouse Improves Your Goal Success

This time of year, we're all trying to find whatever methods we can to help us achieve our goals (those things that really matter to us) more successfully. It's possible that some of us have neglected a resource that research is reminding us has transformational capacities for helping us achieve our goals more effectively.