The Busyness of Success

Those of you who are following may have noticed that my blog has been getting later and later in recent months, to the point where I have now skipped one completely.  Normally, I find a day or half a day to sit quietly at my computer with my thoughts, to think, write, edit and post.  Today, I’m scribbling in a note-pad, sitting on a train, trying to get this done before I get to my stop.  All this is because lately I have been busy.  For the last couple of months I’ve been working 3 days a week at The Organic Pharmacy and that, combined with an increase in clients, has resulted in a certain amount of busyness.

So, I’m busy: does that mean I’m successful? fulfilled? happy?  So many people seem to fill their lives with doing, with work, as if that were the ultimate goal.  But does it get us where we want to be, does it mean we’re successful, or is it a distraction, a trick that we use to fool ourselves into thinking we’re on the right track?  In the 1980s, when money was king, people measured success in terms of wealth.  But increasingly, in this age of austerity, it’s almost as if busyness has replaced this as the benchmark.  “How are you?”, “Oh, it’s been crazy, I’m totally swamped”, “Really, that’s great!”, is a conversation I often hear.  But is it great, or does it mean we’re losing sight of what’s really important?  And what does it mean to be successful anyway?  Is it earning more, getting promotion, getting recognition?  Or is it simply having enough time and money to be able to do the things that really matter to you?

I think when people are asked what is the most important thing in their life, they would probably say their family, friends and health.  Of course, if you’re lucky enough to love your job, as I do, that might be up there too, but I suspect that work would rarely be the most important thing.  An interesting question to ask yourself is how you would spend your time if money was not an issue.  Would you work, would you travel, get fit, take up painting, do charity work, learn to dance, or simply spend more time with your partner/ children/ friends/ family?  It’s an interesting question because it makes you think about what really matters, about what excites you and fills you with joy.  Very few of us have the luxury of not having to work and some will have to work all hours just to make ends meet, but I think the majority have fallen into a habit of busyness and have lost sight of something fundamental.  What we really want as human beings is to look after each other, find pleasure in the company of family and friends, and feel fit and healthy.

Health is often the first thing to disappear when we become busy, as the companion of busyness is stress.  Raised stress hormones disrupt our endocrine system and lower our immunity, and stress plays havoc with our mental health too.  Through the process of homeopathy, many people begin to realise the disruptive nature of this speeding stress train and become more aware of their own needs and desires through their health.

I have a friend who felt he had lost sight of his true self, so he decided to ask himself what he really wanted at the point of every decision.  This could be as simple as asking yourself which you really want, coffee or tea, or whether you truly want that second glass of wine, or it could be as large as asking whether the job you’re in gives you enough time to live the life you want.  It’s a very simple way of reconnecting with your true self and asking, ‘What’s really important to me?’, ‘What makes me more authentically myself?’.  It might throw up some difficult answers but at least you’ll be listening.

So, I’ll keep this brief because I know you’re busy, and because the point I’m making is really very simple.  Life is rarely at its happiest when every second is filled with doing.  We need time to appreciate the important things, to reconnect with other people and ourselves, and remember that time spent in this way is its own success.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. You should be writing for a national newspaper, Alice! Seriously, could see this in the Guardian Weekend magazine as a regular column. (Other national newspapers and television listing magazines are available.)

    1. Wow, thanks Nick! It’s so nice that it touches a chord with people.

  2. I really identified with this, Alice. I also thought it was beautifully and succinctly written.

    1. Thank you Sheena. I’m glad it resonated with you – always hoping that I can get people thinking!

  3. Wonderful Blog Alice. It really reflects how many people experience life these days and emphasises the importance of reflection for us all. I’m so pleased you are busy but obviously not too busy.

    1. Thank you very much, Sheila. I wrote it as much as a reminder for me as anything else – it’s so easy to get swept along and forget.

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