I had every intention of waiting until next week to post on my blog … And I had every intention of going to bed early last night … But then I read a post written by Emily Freeman which I have to admit resonated with me heavily.
How’s this for a profound question? She writes:
I’ve had to ask myself the question again – Are you willing to do less and be more? Not just on the outside, but within?
Now before you answer the question, I’m not leading the witness like you think I am. I don’t expect you to jump right out and provide the noble answer.
Take some time to think about the question she asked herself. The question, that in some capacity, I seem to be asking myself every day. And maybe it’s the question that deep down you’ve been yearning to answer as well.
Rejected by 7 Different Technologies
For those of you who’ve seen the movie He’s Just Not That Into You, you may recall the scene where Mary (Drew Barrymore) is talking with Anna (Scarlett Johansson) in the supermarket, and talks about being dumped.
From their conversation:
And now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.
Even if you haven’t seen the movie (here’s the scene) I can almost guarantee that in some fashion you can relate to what she’s saying.
I don’t know about you, but I spend an awful lot of time each day on the internet, answering blog comments, responding to email, following folks on Twitter and updating my Facebook page.
Aside from the actual time it takes me to do all of this, it’s the psychological impact of social media that is more dangerous to my soul — that by not checking things, I might miss something or forget to reply to something.
Being a Prisoner of the Mind
About a year ago our team at Copyblogger met in Boulder for some strategic planning time. We got a lot done, but a few things happened while I was there.
At the time, I was logging some pretty long days at work, and feeling the pressure to carry a lot of weight within the company. This had been going on for some time, and then I finally broke.
The first night we were there, I practically had a meltdown in front of the partners. There had been a lot of things on my mind — too many, in fact, and it was finally time to let it out.
You can read more about the entire weekend here, but the thing that struck me was something that each and every one of them said to me in harmony.
The said, “Brian, take the next month off.”
I was shocked that they would even consider this, and even though I didn’t take them up on the offer — I realized why they said it.
They were banking on the fact that if I took time to myself, (doing less, and being more) I would come back restored, happier and ultimately more efficient.
On Walden, and Living Deliberately
I’ve always been a contemplative person, and have always loved Henry David Thoreau. He was intentional with his efforts, and that is something far too many of us fail to do. The image at the beginning of this post was his cabin.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
I’m great at doing a lot of things, and to be honest I do a lot of them well. The problem for me, however, is that I can easily fill my time and my work schedule with stuff, and at the end of the day feel accomplished.
My biggest failure is that while I do a lot, I’m not great at just being me.
A few weeks ago I spent a week in La Jolla, California and had the fortune of spending some time alone. As a guy who loves nature, it was easy for me to “be” during those moments. (Here’s what I saw. And some more. Even more.)
While my time there was enjoyable, it stayed there, and didn’t follow me home. When I got back, it was rinse and repeat all over again.
Wake up, do work, read things, code themes, make calls, etc.
Where’s the “just be” in there? Where’s the time carved out for me and removing the pollution in the mind?
I’m encouraging you guys (and myself) to make time to live deliberately. To ask yourself the question that Emily asked herself.
“Am I (really) doing less, and being more?”
Finding Your Magical Trail
For those of you who run your own business, I highly encourage you to take a few of those billable hours and invest them back into your company. Don’t do the work, and take that time for yourself.
I guarantee if you don’t — over time — it will cost you a lot more in psychiatric expenses. As a person who was clinically diagnosed with major depression years ago, I can issue this challenge with confidence.
I don’t know what you do to escape reality or where you go to find refuge. But whatever it is, or wherever it is … FIND IT.
Go the beach and listen to the waves crash. Go to the mountains and run them. Turn on that song and listen to it. Pick up that book and read it.
Whatever it is … JUST DO IT.
Image via Creative Commons, miguelvieira’s Flickr photostream.