Doing nothing. Nothing at all.
When was the last time that you’ve done nothing? I mean really nothing. Absolutely nothing at all.
When people say that they’ve done nothing the whole day or the whole weekend, they mean that they haven’t done anything productive. But they have certainly done something. Watched tv, read a book, browsed Facebook. Doing nothing usually means doing things you can’t do without feeling lazy.
Not too long ago you would have been forced to do nothing while you were waiting at a bus station or standing in line at the grocery store. Nothing else to do but looking around and thinking. Thinking about your day, your life, what to do next, what not to forget. A lot of things to reflect on while having nothing else to do.
But nowadays the first thing to do when you have 2 minutes to spare is to reach for your phone. See if someone send you a message, check your Instagram, your Twitter, read the news. Always something to do instead of doing nothing. Instead of thinking. And that’s what makes doing nothing so hard.
Don’t believe me? Try it. Sit around without reaching for your phone or anything else for 20 minutes. It’s one of the most difficult things to do. Why? Because your head starts spinning. We aren’t used to listening to our brain anymore. And our brain isn’t used to us listening what’s going on up there. And in my opinion, that’s not okay.
People don’t know themselves anymore. Everyone has opinions and assumes she knows a lot because they’ve read about in on the news or Facebook or any other place online. But who takes the time to think about it? Before doing that the news feed shows you another topic. Maybe you agree with it, and like it, maybe you just scroll on. Maybe you have to look away because the bus is arriving and you have to show the driver your ticket. And when you sit on the bus you already forgot about the topic you were reading before. So you go on scrolling. Something else will pop up and capture your attention. At least until you find something else.
But why would I want to change this? Why would I want to be the weirdo on the bus that doesn’t stare at her phone the whole ride? Why would I want to listen to what’s going on in my brain? Because I want to get to know myself. I want to find out what’s crucial to me. What I like. What my real opinion is and if I even care.
Things that should be normal but if you get conscious about it, you realize that you totally forgot to do that. To stop and think.
So what to do when you realize that you have the same problem and want to change it? At least want to try what the other side feels like? Just try it for some time. Colin Wright calls this practice 20 Minutes of Awesome. So who wouldn’t want to try this now?
So let’s go. Find a place to sit where you can be undisturbed for 20 minutes. Set your phone to airplane mode, set a timer and just sit without moving. Just sit there and let your head go where it wants to go. And start listening. Don’t engage with it actively, just listen.
Why set the timer you ask? Because otherwise, you would check the time every 3 minutes because it feels like hours have gone by since you last checked. So set the timer and don’t move until it rings.
If you do this daily and make it a routine, you will learn so much about yourself. You will change and become more conscious. You also will stop to reach for your phone or switch on a device every second you have to spare. And it will be ok. Because you and your brain, both will be ok with what’s going on up there and you actually will start to like to listen.
So go on and start doing nothing. Nothing at all.