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The Importance of Wasting Time
July 4, 2018
When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you.

F. Diane Barth, writing in Psychology Today, explains that German sociologist and economist Max Weber described "a confusion of activity with morality." Barth writes about Weber’s belief that "with the coming of the industrial revolution...we began to equate being productive with being good. Today we have almost come to believe that the busier we are, the better we are.

I am a psychotherapist, not a historian or political analyst, so my understanding of Weber is very limited; but what I understand is that he thinks it is a mistake to equate resting or non-productive behavior with wasting time, or, as many of us tend to do, with laziness. Today we teach our kids that if they are highly productive in school, they will get into a good college; and that if they are highly productive in that good college, they will have a successful, meaningful life. And of course, we teach them this because we believe it. But there are problems with this belief system...

I'm a great fan of Thich Nhat Hanh, and I like many of his sayings. Here's one that I find very useful: ‘Smile, breathe and go slowly.’ I don't always remember to do it myself, especially when I'm rushing from teaching a class to seeing a client, or trying to find time to write my blog, get my house clean and go to the movies with my husband.

But sometimes I do remember it, like when I'm walking from my apartment to my office in the early morning when the rising sun is coloring the sky pink and purple (yes, even in New York City we can see the sun rise - or at least see the sky change colors!) And that tiny moment of breathing and going slowly actually puts a smile on my face - and makes the day feel much more manageable."

Source: "Wasting Time May Be the Best Thing You Do Today," by F. Diane Barth, Psychology Today, January 7, 2012

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Comments (1)

Displaying 1 Comment
Arlene DeCicco · July 04, 2018
McKor Shalon Nursery
Cherry Hill, NJ, United States

Another great article and something to stop and think about, as we've heard many times over-- "just stop and smell the roses". Do we appreciate what is right in front of us, such as the beauty of the natural scenery in our universe?

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