Sorry, my Tinder date ran over time, be there in 20!
Sunday was a ridiculous day of frantic ‘doing’. I literally rushed from place to place, across Melbourne and back again – from yoga to coffee with a friend to a Tinder date, to a catch up with my awesome entrepreneur girls. Then I was back on the bike and a train across Melbourne to meditate with a bunch of new friends – I felt very zen for all of 23 minutes – then ninja-ing over a fence (couldn’t figure out how to open the electronic gate!) to train to the other side of Melbourne yet again for a comedy gig. Dinner schminner, I got home at 11.30pm!
You’d think I’d have been drained and frazzled, but instead it left me wired and overflowing with energy.
I love being busy, it makes me feel alive.
It got me thinking about the article I wrote last week about the risk of filling our lives with too much ‘doing’.
A good friend of mine wrote to me about the article. She loved it, but she wondered why there was a problem with lots of doing – she loves doing! Which is a point I perhaps didn’t make very well in the article.
Is there anything wrong with constantly being in a state doing?
Why do we feel good when we’re in a state of constant doing?
Here’s the thing. Left to its own devices, our mind conjures up all manner of crap.
It bangs on about how stressed and overwhelmed we are, it reminds us of past relationship failures, it rehashes upsetting conversations which shouldn’t matter.
Most of us have a vague sense that there’s something stressful going on in our mind some of the time, but we aren’t always aware that there’s anything we can ‘do’ about it.
So we fill our lives with lots of distractions, because when we’re constantly ‘doing’ our mind has less time to wander off and hypothesise about reasons why everything is terrible.
When we’re really busy, however, our mind goes into overdrive, trying to think of 10 things at once and always racing to the next step before we’ve finished the first. But at least it’s too busy to dwell on the negative, right.
The problem with this is that if your mind isn’t focussed on what you’re doing right now, you’ll never fully enjoy what you’re doing right now.
How many times have you scoffed down a chocolate bar before you even had time to realise you’d eaten it and missed the enjoyment?
How many times have you had sex and missed most of it because you were so focussed on getting to the orgasm, only to feel kinda let down on the other side because it’s already over.
When we’re always focusing on the goal and never the journey, we miss the whole thing.
Life races by and before we know it we’re 10 years on and still chasing the sense of contentment – as though it’s always just out of our reach.
We scoff down experiences to get to the next (because it’s probably better, right?), and it means that we never fully experience any of them.
This is what leads to a perpetual sense of slight dissatisfaction with life.
Sometimes it causes boredom, sometimes just a constant craving for MORE. A constant feeling that whatever is next will be better than whatever is now.
// You can notice this when you’re with a friend and you can’t focus on what they’re saying because your mind is off doing something else.
// When you try to sleep at night and you lie awake thinking, or you wake early and can’t stop thinking.
// When you want to wind down after a long day and the only way you can do it is by using alcohol, TV or swiping and scrolling.
// When you’re having sex but you’re thinking of something else entirely.
This can lead us to feeling uneasy or agitated when we have nothing to do, and this is when we end up doing for the sake of doing.
But you can see, it’s not the doing that’s the problem.
It’s the inability to focus our mind on exactly what we’re doing in each moment that causes us this constant feeling that something is missing.
The remedy is to learn the tools you need to focus and train your mind so that whether you’re doing or not doing, you can enjoy it for what it is.
Gimme the tools, dammit!
One of the main tools I teach my Bloody Good Life 101 clients is mindfulness – the ability to focus your mind on the present moment. It’s game changing stuff.
Explore it, research it, download the apps I mention here. If you want the practical, no-bullshit, fast track version of how to change your life with mindfulness (based on my own experience), check this out.