Think for a minute about this question: Would you say that you’re a busy person?
Let me guess: you only needed to think for half a second – and the answer is a definitive yes. I know that because everyone answers yes.
Why is that the case?
The reasons are many, but I want to address a hidden and particularly nasty reason.
In a nutshell, I believe we like to be overly busy. We enjoy having way too much to do.
Who are some of the first people to pop into your mind when I ask you to think about the busiest individuals in the nation? Don’t think too long – what immediately comes to mind?
Did you think of the president or other high-ranking politicians? Did you think of CEO’s? Did you think of top tier salespeople or high profile attorneys?
In my mind, I picture someone riding in a limo, talking on his blackberry, and coordinating the agenda for the upcoming international business meeting. Someone whose suit costs more than my house.
We tend to think that important people are very busy people. And busy people are important people. On some level we believe that busy people are swamped because their time is valuable. And a busy person’s time is valuable because they are valuable.
Have you ever casually asked someone what they’ve been up to, and they start rattling off about how busy they’ve been? I’ve been in conversations where it almost seemed like it was a contest to see who was the busiest. It’s normally accompanied with tired looks and slightly exasperated tones of voice, while the audience is expected to shake their head with some version of “Oh, you poor thing.”
On the surface, we’re talking about our frustrations with our hectic schedules and sympathizing with the plight of the busy. But underneath, there’s the very clear implication: “I’m busy because I’m important.”
We don’t enjoy the process of being overly busy, but we do enjoy displaying the busyness badge of honor to the rest of the world.
How messed up is that? We sure are a bunch of fools at times.
“Oh look at me. I can’t manage my time well. (I’m important.)”
“Oh, look at how stressed I am. (I know you envy how much I’m accomplishing.)”
Now to be clear: I’m certainly not advocating laziness, and I’m all for being industrious. I’m not criticizing a full and abundant life, only an overly busy and over-stretched life.
But how are we to choose a full and abundant life instead of a jam-packed one if we are fighting this hidden urge within us? How are we to fight this urge if we haven’t even realized it’s there?
Are We Sabotaging Ourselves?
Are we finding our significance in an appearance of busyness and importance? Are we secretly seeking the praise of men when we do this? Are we sabotaging our own schedules due to our pride?
As I began to think about this – man, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I did love to look busy. It made me feel so important.
But it strained my relationships – with others and with God.
After this disgust with my inner motivations, I’ve challenged myself to never again brag (or complain) about my busyness.
By the way, I recently came across this post from Shrinking the Camel. What a perfect example of the pride of busyness.
Feel free to discuss:
Are you like me – secretly loving to look busy? What do you think is the solution?
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