Sometimes You Achieve More By Doing Nothing

Last Updated Jul 27, 2011 12:16 PM EDT

Sometimes You Achieve More By Doing NothingIt's summer, the skies are blue, the birds are chirping, the bees are buzzing, it's absolutely beautiful, at least in this part of the world. So what's wrong with this picture? I'm miserable, that's what wrong.

What's my beef? Well, about three months ago I was sitting on the couch, typing away, so engrossed in my writing that I didn't realize the sun had gone down. It was pitch black. So I stood up - computer in hand - and headed toward a light switch.

That's when it happened. My left foot hit something big and heavy and I went sprawling. It was an awkward fall because I didn't want the PC to hit the floor and, somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew the heavy object on the floor was a snoozing boxer and I didn't want to fall on him, either.

Anyway, my foot bent in a way it wasn't supposed to and I knew instantly that something bad had happened. Fortunately, the dog was fine. So was the computer. My foot, on the other hand, had a torn tendon. Long story short, it's a really, really long healing process.

Not only that, but after a month, when I got the green light to walk again without the big black boot with all the Velcro straps, I reinjured the foot doing something I shouldn't have been doing. And a month later, I did it again.

Now I'm getting ready to ditch the boot for the third time and I swear this has got to be the last time. Still, I'm miserable for a few reasons:
  • I feel like a moron, not just for injuring myself in such a dumb way, but because I did it again and again because I'm too impatient to just relax and heal.
  • I'm missing a whole season of chores that need to get done. It's not like anyone else is going to do them, so they're all just piling up, waiting for me to get better.
  • I'm compulsive, neurotic, with maybe a touch of ADD, and the only thing that keeps me sane is running or some equally exhausting form of exercise, which I haven't done in months. So technically, I'm pretty nuts right now.
And you know what's even worse than all that? I'm writing this because I feel sorry for myself. Not that I want sympathy. I'm sort of past that, and I think my wife is, too. Now, when I complain, she just rolls her eyes. She probably thinks I'm an idiot just like I do.

So I tell myself this is therapy when, in reality, I'm just giving in to the whiny child that lives inside me and can't wait to get out and tell embarrassing stories about me to complete strangers who actually have better things to do with their precious time.

But hey, now that it's over and done and none of us will ever get this time back again, maybe I can put this in perspective so we can actually get something useful out of it. Here are 3 lessons I Learned From 3 Miserable Months:
  1. Every animal knows that, to survive, it's sometimes best to do nothing. It's the same for people. So contemplate, meditate, hibernate, vegetate, whatever -ate you're into, do that. And keep doing it until you're healthy and it's safe to get out and about again.
  2. We always say don't sweat the small stuff and health and family are the only things that matter. That's true. But what's also true is that really driven people - including many of you and me too - never seem to let up or cut ourselves some slack. That only makes things worse. Learn to forgive yourself.
  3. It's okay to let the whiny child out from time to time, provided he's not too out of control, agrees to get back inside your head after a while, and doesn't act out on your boss or your spouse. Speaking of which, I'm relatively sure my wife is plotting to kill me in my sleep. Can you blame her?
So I guess the bottom line is that, by letting go, giving in, and occasionally doing nothing, you can actually get back on your feet quicker and, ultimately, achieve more. Who knew?

Also check out:
  1. What's the One Thing Limiting Your Success
  2. The Real Secret to Personal Productivity
  3. 5 Characteristics of Successful People
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Image: uliatcairo via Flickr

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