Successful and happy people have one thing in common, they have mastered the Art of Doing Nothing. Taking breaks and enjoying a pause can boost our mental health and stamina beyond expectation.

It’s true that we all have different levels of soft skills. Some people are naturally easy-going and charismatic in communication and in letting go of stress. Some are born with an inner button that they can turn into a relaxing mode in seconds. But some others (may I add the majority of us) are putting a lot of effort to calm down and seeking ways to take a break from reality. Adulthood is a series of continuous obligations and crisis management with some periodic pauses of quiet times.

During the last months due to the extra daily pressure of the pandemic, people have been experiencing new levels of stress. Would be lying if I was excluding myself from this stressful state of mind. Others might be dealing with the ongoing circumstances with more grace than me but I am not ashamed to admit how tired and exhausted I feel after 10 months of agony in lockdown.

It’s ok not to be ok

In other words, being perceived as always happy and in a positive mood is considered more as a symptom of toxic positivity, to say at least. Dare to feel uncomfortable and depressed. Let it teach you the dark colors of your emotional world. Accept the dark side of life.

How do I deal with this uneasy feeling of doom every time I watch the news about the pandemic?

It’s easy… I stopped watching the news daily. This was a strategic decision to save my sanity. Reading the news has helped me to stay calm. It makes it easier to lower the fierce slap of reality when things get worse.

Taking a step back from what is happening could save our lives. Most of the time we tend to react at the top of our emotions and we lose the best energy in fighting against the stream of events. Have you ever thought that doing nothing could be the best decision ever?

The Art of Doing Nothing by Areti Vassou

Doing nothing is better

than over reacting

In front of a fire, we are advised to reduce oxygen in order to calm the fire down. Think about that for a second.

In the last two months, I’ve been to so many funerals, saying goodbye for the last time to so many good friends that my inner oxygen (and hope) has hit the ground. I was feeling lost in the space wishing to make the pain disappear at any cost. Then my leg was broken and had to stay still and do absolutely nothing for 15 days.

Doing nothing saved me. The period of stillness created room for my thoughts and feelings to reach my own deeper conscious self. Do you remember when we were children and we loved to gaze at the passing clouds? My parents used to call that daydreaming zone. Hearing just my breath while staring at the ceiling actually healed my suffering heart from the pain of loss.

The lost Art of Doing Nothing is the art of pauses in the music. Melody needs pauses to produce music. We need pauses during our never-ending hectic way of living to find the music inside us. Don’t get me wrong… All I am saying is that our own pace needs the proper amount of time to keep our peace of mind unbroken.

Slowing down is much better than breaking down to pieces.

In my humble opinion, we are never prepared enough to handle the waves of destiny. But we can become more self-aware and we can make time to keep our balance within ourselves. Doing nothing is equal to letting the resistance go and finally, we can float to the surface of the ocean.

Nowadays I keep one golden hour to myself doing nothing. Just hearing my breath. Never before had I noticed how precious and fragile it actually is.

Be brave, I said to myself, and add fewer business appointments. Engage in fewer activities. Talk less. Skip any online events or meetings that are not necessary to attend. Eat slower. Smile with the little happy moments. Let the sun burn your face.

Doing nothing outlined that one truth we seem to forget: You are not in a hurry anymore. Time is precious and you won’t be alive forever. Slow down and take a deep breath.

Steve Jobs advice

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. – Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was my mentor for 4 years. When things were tough he used to ask one breathtaking question: “If you knew that you are going to die in six months what would you do now?”

He was the only person that had the courage to follow his own advice and I am grateful for having the opportunity to witness that in real life. The last 10 months he had been on my mind several times and thankfully his example gave me the courage to surrender in doing nothing as an act of belief and trust, that is ok not to be ok and still find your own path to serenity.

The Art of Doing Nothing by Areti Vassou

Serenity attracts prosperity

To my surprise, being calm and living a slower life supported my business prosperity in unexpected ways. The fear of missing out on opportunities was replaced by the joy of missing out on wasted energy on low-quality projects (and activities). My team knows how picky I can be in new collaborations but for the first time, it felt right.

New clients started to land and out of the sudden, it was clearer than ever what could be a good fit for my business growth. Practicing daily this one hour of doing nothing nurtured my ability to select the best choices for my business development and personal improvement.

When you are in a good place with yourself you don’t need others to lift you up. And that reflects in business life, too.

More importantly, our need to feel safe gets lots of endorsement from our own pool of confidence. When you are calm then you don’t seek approval or any vanity pacifiers to keep walking in life. Some people may never warm up to the idea that we need to take pauses but eventually life we’ll force them to take a break one way or another. It took me a broken leg to say out loud: lesson learned.

Forget likability and gain resilience.

Meanwhile, take your time.

The Art of Doing Nothing by Areti Vassou
The Art of Doing Nothing by Areti Vassou

4 Comments on “The Art of Doing Nothing

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