Here’s a test. How long could you sit just watching the world going by – no book, phone, newspaper, or friend to talk to? I’m not talking about loafing; rather that you sit and contemplate what is around you. How long could you endure yourself and your thoughts? We are a nation of the entertained… Afraid of the uncertainty that letting time run its course entails.
If only this was restricted to micro- issues. Unfortunately it seems that the worlds of politics and economics work in the same way. We seem incapable of just letting situations play out at their own pace…our governments and our business can’t wait to intervene in other country’s affairs, law, natural resources. They can’t even just sit on their hands and leave our own country’s legislation intact. They are intent on “reform”, “modernisation”, “lobbying” and “diplomacy” which justifies their existence.
The bottom line is that research suggests these things are always counter-productive and resource hungry. As parents we try to hot-house our children with a full programme of homework, sport, music tuition, dance classes, clubs and parties because we think it’s the way to develop them. All research suggests that this doesn’t result in the positive outcome we expect. The forced regime can even harm a parent’s precious relationship with their children. Instead the research suggests we should be just enjoying the time together; confidently knowing that our children will tell us when they have an interest in a particular pastime. All we can influence is maybe 3 months-worth of primary education and whether our children smoke or not.
We see this so clearly in others. Unwitting colleagues and friends who sweep through our lives leaving a ‘wake’ of upset, confusion and mopping up. They have a firm belief that doing something is better than doing nothing.
We miss so much by always racing ahead. Try walking through a woodland at pace – you’ll think the woods are deserted and all you’ll hear is the rustle of leaves. Sit, silently, and minute by minute a cacophony will begin. Creatures will emerge and bushes that once seemed empty will become full of life. By doing nothing you’ll learn something. My own hustle and bustle, no matter how careful I am, will adversely affect my environment
We regularly eat chilled, unripe, unmatured food because we can’t wait until its ready. We’ll eat convenience food rather than bother to learn how to cook with no concern for the additional calories, salt, sugar and additives we digest as a result. In our rush we overbuy and consequently overpay for the privilege of doing so.
And for what? The only thing that all this action and speed can do is save us time and yet we seem to report that we have never had so little of it. Fewer of us are employed, and take part in recreational or voluntary activities. Fewer of us read, knit, sew, paint, and create music than ever before.
We do watch more TV and films, use social media and drink more. Go figure.