The Big-Wigs are telling us that one way to be happy is to be busy.
Research out of the University of Chicago shows that busy people are happy people, even if what they are doing is well, "pointless."
Really? Is it better to be doing something meaningless, than doing at all? I've gone that route. The super duper busy route where most of the work I did meant little and felt uninspiring. And, yes, I was happy, productive, frantic. Wasn't until later that I realized the work I was doing didn't matter much.
After awhile, though, keeping busy at being busy wore me out. But, when I was busy at the things that inspired me, I lost track of time. I felt excited, energized - even when I was pushing just as hard.
If you really want to be happy then get busy doing the things that matter most. Make it meaningful. Take inspired action and move in the direction of your greater goals and dreams - even if you're just taking baby steps.
What is inspired action
That kind of move - inspired action - is the best kind of busyness. Do what you love. Find aspects of what you love in what you're already doing. Or stay focused on what you desire and take pride in doing even the most menial task better than anyone else and know that it's moving you closer to your dreams.
Sometimes, it's a matter of reframing the busyness. Daily life has it's fill of drudgery and it isn't all inspiring. If I could avoid folding another load of laundry, I would do it. But, even when the drudge work falls to me, I notice, on my best days, that folding clothes is an opportunity to support my family and make my husband's life a little easier. That is something I do care about. So I focus more on the supporting-my- family aspect rather than the why-am-I-the-one-who-always-ends-up-folding-the-laundry-and-I'm-fed-up aspect. Well, at least on most days.
Reframing also makes it possible to see opportunities that may otherwise remain hidden.Years ago I had a job that drained me emotionally and offered really no perks other than the monthly paycheck. But, after a few months of being busy and exhausted, I reframed my thoughts about that job and started to see it as the Master Class in what not to do. I decided to learn all I could about the good and the bad while working there, so I could apply those insights to my own business one day.
I didn't love the mechanics of the job any more, but it went from being pointless busy work, to being a job with an opportunity for growth. And when I believed that everything I was doing was laying the groundwork for my own writing business, I felt excited and hopeful.
Be busy at getting quiet
Sometimes taking inspired action means doing nothing. It means sitting still and getting quiet. Making room for creativity. This isn't easy because well, we are so busy. And though, our own cultural mentality is shifting a bit, we are still a people who rewards and reveres ambition and productivity.
Nobody has ever said to me "Wow, look at you go, you're really good at sitting still."
But, when part of my busyness is focused on being still, I am happier, healthier, and less stressed. And, this quiet helps illuminate your next inspired action.
If you're still not sure what that is, start by doing something nice for somebody else. You'll feel good and from that place of positive emotion, opportunities and insights open up.
No matter what we do, it does make sense that we are happier when we're busy. After all, we are hard-wired to create, contribute, learn. All I'm saying is that when you are busy doing something you care about, something that's moving you toward the things that matter in your life, something that inspires you, you'll be happier yet.
Inspired action will move you intellectually, emotionally, spiritually.
And that will inspire the rest of us.