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The original author of this text is Ricardoramalho
Dedicated to Wikibooks
In the modern occidental society, where ambition and capitalist culture are the accepted norms and anxiety is common, doing nothing is not well tolerated or comprehended, especially outside of academic and artistic environment. In our everyday lives we are all immersed in a vicious cycle of behaviors and attitudes.
The concept of inaction is more common in oriental societies. The Daoist concept of Wu wei is related to the ability to know when to act. That is also an important element in the classic The Art of War the applications of which extend outside the military to business management.
Doing nothing is a skillEdit
The development of good timing is very important in group work. It requires attention, and concentration.
A cure for the sedentary life: Do nothingEdit
Sedentary (that which is characterized by little movement) work can cause problems. A common solution is to increase activity levels but these often fall short of adding valuable experiences. Another is to reduce stimuli. Meditation is one technique to clean the mind, and can help clarify thoughts.
Artists know well: without time out, freedom from work, there is no art. Contemplation is defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary as "concentration on spiritual things as a form of private devotion", or even more interesting "the act of regarding steadily". The perception of the environment is the main source for artistic creation. An art work also leads to perception. People need art because it exercises our ability to reflect a critical consideration. When we say "he does that very well, he is an artist" we are recognizing that all things can be well done, or not, that somethings are better organized, or better taken care of, than others, that means we have a point of view based in our experience, and attention capacity. When culture is not considered to be worth it, low social standards result. That problem is frequent in undeveloped countries, where violence, corruption, and the majority of the population has low self esteem, and few moral values. The opening of the Louvre Museum in Paris, and the National Gallery in London a few decades after in the beginning of the eighteen century, was a matter of State in each country, a strategy to educate the people, to promote national culture, to display the nation's power and development.
Quality leisure is vital when we are concerned about doing nothing in a healthy way. Most people have TV as their main tool for leisure, many play videogames, while others stay hours in the Internet. Not by coincidence TV, video games and Internet are all monitors. In 2009 all three are available in a cellular phone. These are very important communication and entertainment media, and most people couldn't live or work without them. Quality leisure is about finding balance in the frequency we use this tools, and others. Instead of watching so much TV, have a cup o tea, for example. Notice how equilibrium is important: drinking tea all day can be addictive too. Chimarrão is a hot drink very common in South America. People drink it while working, or even when walking in the park, or at home. A chimarrão consumer normally drinks in the same moments as a smoker lights cigarettes, they carry a thermos bottle of hot water inside a bag or a basket, everywhere, and the tea is drunk using a shiny metal straw and a cup made of natural gourd (cuia). Some studies have concluded that the excessive and prolonged drinking of chimarrão increases incidents of mouth cancer. Discipline is very important when choosing and maintaining habits, a variety of moderated actions is necessary to make inaction benefit.
There is no need to be radical on doing nothing, many small tasks can be considered positive to break vicious circles, and enrich life. Meditation every day is a good example: in modern society and stressed cities is something difficult to find time for, people tend to do it not at home, but in gymnasium´s and special classes, so it can be included in a weekly agenda. In Kung-Fu temples, staying awake night and day without sleeping is a type of radical meditation that is done with the eyes open. A monk has to stay in complete isolation to do that: he seems to be doing nothing, but is in guard. That degree of stabilized consciousness is not possible when we ride buses everyday, eat not well in crowded restaurants, and work 8 hours a day in front of a computer, or on the street. That is why it is so important to take good care of the routine to survive well in troubled contexts and keep developing beings for a better society.
Procrastination can be a way not only to avoid to commit to a task but as a way to access priorities and avoid committing errors. It can even help reaching the optimal path for a solution, procrastination doesn't mean not thinking about the task to be done, and since metalization of a problem and possible solutions doesn't get them done it can be a positive reason to put off doing something, but has been scientifically proven that it helps execute physical feats, by working as a way to optimize the neuro-connection needed for the "real" executions of the job. Procrastination isn't always about carelessness or laziness, that can only be attributes that result of not performing on time or as others expect you to. Although the prudence of procrastination is vital to reach personal goals without higher costs, or precipitation, in team work it is important to have a good communication to harmonize concerted actions, or inactions. Procrastination is also an effective defense barrier frequently used by corporations and public services to avoid client complaints and related public demands: after a while, solicitors normally give up. That technique must be used carefully because it can damage the reputation of the procrastinator, generating later higher costs with public relations, and even marketing. In human relationships it is frequent to delay, or not to respond to an undesired call: if we are always available to someone that harasses, the harasser can feel motivated to continue.
It is interesting to notice that in the financial and economic crisis of 2009, in March, an European country that is famous for procrastination and bureaucracy, Portugal, despite of having a quite fragile economy (for also that reason) compared to other European nations, have now a much better unemployment rate than Spain. The aggressive style of the Spanish market, that made it one of the fastest growing economies and one of the richest countries in Europe, exposed them to a higher collapse: their unemployment rates are about 50% higher than the smaller iberic Portuguese neighbor . It is likely that aggressiveness can produce a faster recovery later, though, the instability provoked by precipitation, ambition and over reaction is clear, in many cases.
Learn with the IndiansEdit
Isolated jungle Indians, those that still live in the Amazon forest for example, are primitive, but are not considered less civilized than urban populations. Modern social science considers that Indians have a very stable society, with a strong sense of their own cultural values, beliefs, rituals, routine, and necessary skills. Indians have time. They gather a lot, and talk, and listen. So being an Indian is really a life style, and keeping their tradition is a clear option for them nowadays.
Timing and diplomacyEdit
Fishing expeditions, if you overstep your nautical limits can cause stress on relations, especially if others are aware of an already established history of looking for lost nuclear submarines. This is can be aggravated if there is already an extra level of global tension. People should clearly avoid teasing the trained bear, there is so much else to spend time on... Select to use your time productively or just let things be, your actions will always generate reactions, and they will not be always predictable.
Doing nothing is part of a consistent strategy of survival, and personal development. It helps you decide, plan, associate with others, enjoy life and enjoy your work. Doing nothing is cool, powerful, and helps building relationship, friendship, organization and conscience. Great productivity can be achieved with time to yourself, and time to your colleagues. When we comprehend somebody, sometimes a good thing is doing nothing. In Japan when people want to show anger, they do nothing, don't talk, don't even look at the person who did something wrong. That is very strong and quite cruel because the person who did wrong knows that, and feels guilty, without room for discussion. Isn't it great to stay with friends doing nothing in a comfortable silence? So, look around you, contemplate the view, breathe carefully, have a glass of water and do nothing today.