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The Usefulness of Doing Nothing

Nowadays, the number of possibilities for an individual to become prosperous is huge. Clearly, not all individuals strive to achieve it, and those who do, do not necessarily succeed in it. Their problem is the inability to stop and think at least for a moment. People seem to have lost the ability to enjoy their lives and value their nature. It happened because it became possible for them to fill their days with dozens of unnecessary things, tasks, thoughts, and habits. Doing nothing from time to time is useful because it provides an opportunity for a person to sort out the information, to look at various tasks in a different way, to accept oneself, to embrace the happiness, and to find inspiration.

An individual receives much information from various sources all the time, especially now, in the age which is full of various technologies. As a result of this constant process, an individual’s brain becomes overloaded with different facts, and by no means all of them are of value to this individual. Thus, the brain requires some moments of peace to sort out all this information into valuable and useless. This process partially happens when an individual is asleep. However, an additional sorting when an individual is awake would not be out of place. Although any individual can benefit from the disposal of the unnecessary data, this process is especially valuable to people who receive education, white-collar employees, and social network users. Probably adding the latter to this group means that almost all people require doing nothing occasionally.

Receiving education presumes obtaining the huge amount of knowledge on a daily basis, and this fact is equally true for every major. An individual whose major is literature has to become familiar with dozens or probably even hundreds of pieces of literature. Reading all these works will provide an individual with invaluable experience. However, this practice contains one serious flaw: this individual rarely manages to process the philosophical ideas which are present in the works of literary giants. It occurs because after reading a particular piece of literature, it would be better for an individual to sit in a calm place with the eyes closed and let that piece reach his or her consciousness. Instead, he or she has to proceed with paying attention to other works. An individual whose major is law is obliged to memorize a huge number of laws and cases. However, only few succeed in remembering all of that; others become totally confused. This individual also requires moments of the rest of the mind to arrange his or her thoughts. Thus, majors differ, but the necessity of doing nothing remains though the academic activity rarely provides an opportunity to do this.

While students’ brains have to deal with too much received information, white-collar employees and social network users face a slightly different problem: too much unnecessary information. Offices are full of phone-calls, small talks, requests, and shredded utterances. The brain gets exhausted after a day spent there, but the situation only worsens in weeks. These pieces of information accumulate and make an individual focus narrowly on a particular phrase which prevents him or her from falling asleep. Getting rid of such rubbish is the real art because, ironically, such individuals have a difficulty in having peaceful moments. The destiny of the user of the Internet is even more unfortunate: he or she has to process hundreds of meaningless words and phrases without even noticing it. The information appears fast, and an individual starts focusing on the following piece of information without having read the previous one. Moreover, the brain gets used to receiving little pieces of information and fails to stay concentrated on big ones. After a while, such individuals start to feel difficulty in reading such big pieces as books. Besides, according to neuroscientists, “Multitasking increases the production of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the hormone adrenaline, which can overstimulate your brain and cause mental fog or scrambled thinking”. The Internet addicts extremely need to do nothing, and they need it more often than anyone else. Otherwise, their brains will become reluctant to obtain knowledge, and the sense of their lives will limit to Wi-Fi.

The possibility to re-plan or to get a new angle on something is another benefit of having peaceful moments. Since childhood or a little later an individual starts imagining his or her future life. As a result, a certain plan of action emerges in an individual’s mind. After the appearance of this plan, an individual tries to keep to its steps. Some individuals manage to reach the final objective, while others fail at the very beginning. The point is that while pursing this plan, an individual often fails to notice that the conditions change. Even a very intelligent individual cannot create a long-term life plan that will include all possible variables. All people’s life plans have flaws, and an individual’s purpose is to distinguish them in time and adjust the plan. This plan may concern any sphere of an individual’s life, but it requires constant modification disregarding the sphere. The lack of peaceful moments prevents an individual from adjusting his or her plan. For instance, according to the plan, an individual chooses a particular occupation and starts preparing for it. If to consider the complicacy of the changing world people live in, there is a possibility that this occupation will become useless in ten years. According to experts, “Almost 50 per cent of occupations existing today will be completely redundant by 2025 as artificial intelligence continues to transform businesses”. The background to conclude that this will happen to a particular occupation may appear while an individual studies. In this case, an individual’s purpose is to cognize it and to emend the plan by choosing another path. However, it is possible to cognize it only if this individual sets aside everything and does something similar to staring at the tree in a park.


Spending some time peacefully is also precious as it makes it possible for an individual to learn how to accept one’s own nature. Most individuals prefer hiding their nature from the others, and many of them do not reveal it even to themselves. The reasons of the fear of learning one’s own nature are unclear, but this fear prevents an individual from the realization of his or her uniqueness and makes this individual remain one of the crowd. Not to become comfortable with oneself, an individual manages to create many excuses. Such individual turns his or her day into a sequence of various assignments and makes everything possible not to stay alone for one single moment: he or she either stays among other people all the time or distracts oneself with objects. In any case, without the knowledge of his or her nature, an individual cannot observe the flaws, and being unable to see the faults makes it impossible for him or her to develop.

Not doing anything does not only make an individual become familiar with oneself, it can also assist in enjoying life, love, nature, and happiness. Hyman provides the example of the Buddha who was walking not long after the enlightment: “A traveler saw his remarkable energy. He asked him if he was an angel, a wizard, a magician, or some kind of god. – No, the Buddha said, I am awake”. People’s stressful lives which are full of events have something in common with transparent cages. Through these cages, they can see other people. An individual sees how somebody finds love and tries to do the same. When this individual sees that somebody is happy, he or she becomes aware that happiness exists, and starts searching for it, as well. This individual thinks that he or she is looking for these feelings, but the cage never stops moving, so there is no opportunity to realize what is actually happening. If this individual finds the courage to stop the cage for a moment, that is, to do nothing, then it might turn out that he or she is already happy and maybe even in love. However, if the cage never stops, then this individual may keep seeking the things that he or she already possesses for the whole life. In this case, this individual may never let the true happiness fill him or her.

If combined, all of these advantages of a moment of rest lead to the boost of inspiration and, consequently, creativity. Creativity, in its turn, is crucial for an individual who is willing to achieve anything in his or her life. Having a plan, even the one which is close to being perfect is insufficient. Without inspiration, an individual will have a difficulty in pursuing to follow each step every time he or she faces obstacles. Inspiration, which can emerge when, for instance, an individual is gazing at the light of a candle, will assist in not abandoning his or her dreams. Creativity, inspiration, and the clear mind are essential qualities for becoming prosperous: “If you think rich long enough, you will eventually become rich”. It is surprising and marvelous at the same time, that a single minute of peace, an instant in an individual’s life can lead him or her towards the prosperity.

Perhaps certain individuals would argue that such moments are nothing more than a complete waste of time. They may notice that an individual’s presence on earth has limits, and each moment is too precious to waste it on staring at, for instance, blue sky. They may add that moving towards prosperity consists of hard work, but not of dreaming or cherishing philosophical ideas. According to Hammonds, “Procrastination and inefficiency activities, if they only occur for minutes a day, could be affecting your bottom line”. However, living like that is similar to going somewhere without ever looking around. If an individual is not aware of what surrounds him or her, then it is not clear where he or she is going. If an individual works all the time without a moment of destruction, then sooner or later, he or she will become too exhausted to proceed. Not only an individual’s years on earth, but also his or her strength is limited, and it is crucial to remember it. Precious moments of calmness are not enemies; to the contrary, they will help an individual to continue working hard.

To conclude, people’s way of life became more complicated and they started to feel difficulty in cherishing moments. Their minds are full of redundant pieces of information that prevent them from developing. They are too busy moving towards the goal, and it often makes them blind. People spend time on tasks of no use and then complain about being lack of it. They fail to embrace their own feelings because there is no chance to understand what they experience. They strive to achieve success, but fail because of being short of inspiration. Doing nothing is useful because it can provide an opportunity for an individual to leave his or her daily cage, look around, and realize the beauty of this world.

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