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Be successful, not busy

Article by Mike Anderson (NSBC Founder & CEO)

It is a fact that the most successful people in the world aren’t busy. Success and busyness are not related. Haven’t you noticed how people feel so guilty when they aren’t busy and how they try to look busy? Just about everyone likes to be busy or prefers it that way. We all must change that life pattern.

In our minds, we seem to confuse being busy with achieving. Our efforts to keep busy seem to be replacing our drive to be successful. Perhaps we feel that if we keep busy, at some point our efforts will magically bring success. Or perhaps we keep ourselves busy to take our minds off thinking about other things.

Yet, most of us dream of a calm, peaceful and successful life, which is quite the opposite of a busy life.

Being busy is what happens when we find ourselves adrift from what really matters in our life. Being busy is what happens when we find ourselves working to the values and goals of others in our lives.

Keeping busy takes people away from their own thoughts and visions. It takes them away from working toward their own success or their own purpose. Busy people have little time to consider ‘the big picture’, they are busy working on a little piece of a puzzle without knowing where or whether it fits.

What happens when we are busy?

– We stop talking to people.
– We stop listening to others.
– It takes time away from other important things.
– It takes time away from other important people in our lives.
– It negatively effects our health.

Tao master, Chuang-tse tells this interesting story:

‘There was a man who disliked seeing his footprints and his shadow. He decided to escape from them, and he began to run. But as he ran along, more footprints appeared, while his shadow easily kept up with him. Thinking he was going too slowly, he ran faster and faster without stopping, until he finally collapsed from exhaustion and died. If he had only stood still, there would have been no footprints. If he had only rested in the shade, his shadow would have quietly disappeared.’

For all of us, it is easy to fall into the trap that says, “Because I’m busy and a hard worker, I’m productive and will be successful.” This is not true. Not everything we do will lead to success.

Covey said that “Success isn’t about doing enough things. Success is about doing enough of the right things.”

Be successful, not busy – it’s implication is striking: busyness hinders accomplishment.