The first face sees “busy as an experience”: multitasking, racing and cramming that leave us feeling overloaded and overwhelmed. The second face is “busy as a success strategy”: we think by being busier and getting more done we will succeed in our career. The third face is “busy as an approach to happiness”: we become busy in an attempt to become happier in our lives
|Busy as an experience|
|We feel harried and overwhelmed for much of our waking moments. So what strategy do we employ to address this? For most of us, it is time management. We believe that if we could manage our time more effectively, we’d be more in control of our lives and more effective. However, in a world of infinite demand, the more we manage our time, the more we can cram into our days. The focus on managing our time has three effects. We get more efficient and so we do more things, and so we get busier. Our attention narrows and so we lose the perspective needed to make good choices and as we get better at juggling more, our attention gets scattered and diffuse, meaning we don’t appreciate anything. If we want to achieve calmer, more effective and happier lives, time management is not the answer.|
|Busy as a Success Strategy|
|For the whole of human history we’ve been living in a world of scarcity. When there is too little, we strive for more. Whether food, stuff or information, we try to get as much as we can. The basic principle of agriculture, manufacturing and even office life has been the more the better. So we play the “More” game. We assume that personal productivity is what will deliver success. However, in a world of too much, the last thing we need is more of anything. When everyone is so overwhelmed, the biggest scarcity is attention. In order to succeed, you have to cut through the noise and be noticed. In focusing on doing more things and being more productive the big stuff – which requires thinking and creativity – gets squeezed out. We have become drudges, too busy to lift our heads and to do the things that will make an impact and differentiate us. We don’t need to be more productive, we need to do less, better.|
|Busy as an Approach to Happiness|
|We lead our lives with conventional assumptions: that more money, more status, and more popularity are good things. So we prioritize accordingly, putting our values, our relationships and our health on hold while we strive to make our lives better through acquisition. But this is really a dumb idea. First, research has shown that achieving these goals will have little impact on our well-being. Second, the things we sacrifice – relationships, meaning and health – are the only things that can make us truly happy. Third, people who focus on external values – money, stuff and status – are less happy, less healthy than people who focus on the things that busyness kills: relationships, personal growth or contributions to your community. ibid pp xxi, xxii|
The Church is meant to be a community of empowerment, where wounds can be healed and souls are free to flourish.
We don’t turn up to Church, because we are scrubbed-up, perfect beings; we are a gathering of broken people seeking to become whole – but seeking wholeness together rather than alone. We are a mishmash of believers, doubters, dissenters and malcontents, each of us grappling our way towards the mystery that is God.
The church is a place of refuge and hope, a place of prayer and laughter, a place of dreams and fresh imagining, a place of birth and re-birth, a place of welcome and acceptance, a place of weddings and funerals, a place where proud mums and dads bring their tiny people to offer them to God, a place of parties, a place of bread and wine shared by all, a place of affirmation and new beginnings, a place of friendship, support and healing.
Dave Tomlinson How to be a bad Christian…and a better human being pp.170,171
Creating new pathways in the mind is bit like making a new path in some woods: you keep walking that way, as if there were a path, and before long a new path appears. Developing spiritual or contemplative practices helps. I like the word ‘practices’. It reminds me that life’s greatest skills require constant rehearsals. We make mistakes. We screw up. We forget or get distracted. Then we start again. We become good at what we practise. Ibid p.94