You May Have a Case of Action Addiction
This month’s Gifted Leaders e-Newsletter features an article from the Mindful web site that challenges us with the question, “Are you addicted to doing?” My guess is that the vast majority of people would have to honestly answer with a “yes.” We all are affected by the human condition of “action addiction” but, fortunately, there is a way out!
Highlights from the Article
If you find yourself challenged by inactivity, get restless and experience an urge to be busy – you are experiencing some degree of action addiction. The consequence of action addiction is that we are constantly chasing short-term wins. We keep ourselves busy chasing details, thereby losing sight of larger goals.
Action addiction is an advanced sort of laziness. It keeps us busily occupied with tasks. As we keep ourselves occupied with tasks, important or not, we avoid facing life. We keep a safe and comfortable distance from the issues that are sometimes hard to look at. Have we chosen the right career? Are we present enough with our children? Is our life purposeful? It’s like climbing a ladder as fast as we can, only once we reach the top we realize it’s leaning against the wrong wall.
In Chinese, the word “busy” consists of two syllables, one meaning heart, the other death. The busier we get, the more energy flows to the head and away from the heart. Action addiction keeps us busy and away from asking why. And the less we ask, the further we get removed from purpose, meaning, and love. We become effective robots that achieve more. But more is very often much less. Because our hearts are not in it.
To avoid killing our hearts through busy action addiction, we must slow down before we speed up. We must do the right things, not a lot of things. Consider the cheetah. The cheetah is the fastest land-living animal but, despite its amazing speed, when it spots its prey it slows down. It moves in slow motion until, when the time is right, it explodes into action, accelerates and catches its meal. Just as the cheetah doesn’t run around constantly trying to catch mice, we can learn to focus on the real important tasks and goals in life and at work.
We must realize that busyness is a choice. We may have deadlines, projects, and activities, but we have the freedom to choose whether we become action addicts and busy-lazy. Next time you feel busy, pause for a moment and contemplate: What’s keeping you busy? And is it worth it? Are there things on your plate you should let go? When we slow down momentarily and let go of doing things, we can focus and choose our actions out of clarity and freedom, rather than impulses.
Read the article here.
The Gifted Perspective
In the article, the author’s make a provocative assertion:
Nowadays we tend to all be busy, overburdened, and perhaps stressed. It is part of our identity. If we are busy, we are important. If we are stressed, it’s because we are committed and working hard. It´s in the DNA of our modern societies. If we are not busy and stressed, we are not trying hard enough.
We certainly observe this to be true in our own experience with clients and even in our own lives. Can you identify with wearing busyness around like a badge of honor? How often, when someone asks you how things are going, do you answer them with some variation of, “I’m busy?”
So … what are you doing? Chasing mice or going after bigger prey? Let us help you become more like a cheetah through a one-on-one or team coaching relationship!