Overwhelm, the Cult of Busyness, and Wisdom


Time famine.
Busyness as social status.
Competing with others about how busy and overwhelmed we are.
A compelling article challenges us to notice that we are only busy because we THINK we are, and in reality, we are not as busy as we think.
You’re Not As Busy As You Say You Are, by Hanna Rosin describes it thus:

The art of busyness is to convey genuine alarm at the pace of your life and a helpless resignation, as if someone else is setting the clock, and yet simultaneously make it clear that you are completely on top of your game. These are not exactly humble brags. They are more like fretful brags, and they are increasingly becoming the idiom of our age.

Sociologist John Robinson says, “The answer to feeling oppressively busy, is to stop telling yourself that you’re oppressively busy, because the truth is that we are all much less busy than we think we are.”

And our consistent insistence that we are busy has created a host of personal and social ills —unnecessary stress, exhaustion, bad decision-making, and, on a bigger level, a conviction that the ideal worker is one who is available at all times because he or she is grateful to be “busy,” and that we should all aspire to the insane schedules of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur.

In her new book, Thrive, Arianna Huffington writes “There is even a term now for our stressed-out sense that there’s never enough time for what we want to do — ‘time famine.’ And when we’re living a life of perpetual time famine, we rob ourselves of our ability to experience the Third Metric (which is defining success beyond the first two metrics of power and money, and including living a good life defined by the four pillars of well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving).”
Overwhelm and busyness are the barriers to wisdom, which resides within and is accessible when we connect to ourselves and meaningfulness.

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