Busyness as a Badge of Honor
Updated: Jun 19, 2021
“Busyness as a Badge of Honor”. I have heard this used to describe the person who is always soooo busy. Every time you talk to them or see them they are on the move. At work they are buried. You ask them to do something and they sigh, roll their eyes, and tell you to get in line. Their personal lives are incredibly hectic. They are going from one thing to another with barely enough time to breathe. I used to work with a guy who would say “I am busier than a one-armed paper hanger in a hurricane!” I don’t want to be busier than a one-armed paper hanger in a hurricane.
I am working hard not to be that person but I still find myself pinning that badge of honor on my chest from time to time.
When someone poses the question- “How’s business?” I sometimes respond with a canned answer about how busy I am. It is a defense mechanism. It makes me feel like I am holding up my end of the bargain. Everyone wants to be successful and achieving and proving to their boss that they are worthy of praise and a raise and not being fired.
I sometimes am afraid to tell the truth. I am afraid to say that I am reading some article online about a topic that has nothing to do with work because I am bored. I I am afraid to say that I have to do something that I don’t want to do and this is an easy way to procrastinate. I am afraid to say that work isn't that busy and I am sitting at my desk with nothing much to do.
The Tao Te Ching talks about the ordinary man who is always doing things yet many more are left undone. Why does that happen? Some would say that we are concentrating on the wrong things. We are staying busy by putting our focus on the small stuff that doesn’t really matter because it keeps us occupied. If we focus in on the small stuff maybe we won’t have to face the larger stuff that can be much more intimidating to tackle.
The Tao talks about the Master. The Master doesn’t try to be powerful. The Master does nothing. Yet the Master is truly powerful and leaves nothing undone. When I am more truthful with myself and others, I can bring the risky stuff to the surface. If I am not the ordinary man reaching for power and using my busyness as proof that I deserve that power, I can talk about the truth. I can talk about the intimidating problem that is larger and it keeping me stuck where I am.
When I talk about the truth and talk about what is happening right in front of me (embracing the Tao), I can be like the Master. I can be powerful without reaching for that power. If I can find that flow, I can be confident that I am doing nothing but everything is getting done because I am paying attention to the right things.