Is it Time for You to Revisit the “Human Being Versus the Human Doing” Way of Life?


Is it Time for You to Revisit the “Human Being Versus the Human Doing” Way of Life?

Do you sometimes feel like life has gone out of balance and that you need to revisit the “human being versus the human doing” way of life? I recently had an opportunity to do this and what a difference it made. 

It had taken months to organise. YAAAHOOO, girls weekend away. Weekend escapes are so good for wellbeing, doing wonders for our mental health, especially as humans are such social creatures.

According to Nancy Kanwisher, a professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, being socially interactive and being able to learn from one another is one of the primary ways we have evolved as a species. Cognitive functioning is a complex task, and a learned skill and some of the greatest human achievements (think research breakthroughs in medicine, food production and machinery) have come to fruition through sharing skills and experience.

If you think about all the things you know, do an assessment on how much of it you instinctively know versus how much you learned from others.  The difference is clear.

We need other people to grow and learn and to know we are OK. But all the time?

So, I was excited. The date arrived, I was heading down the night before everyone else and was really looking forward to take away food and a chick flick on my night alone.

Then I got a phone call. One of my friends had an issue. She was pulling the pin. I was disappointed but knew others would be joining me the following day.

I arrived at the accommodation, unloaded, sat on the couch and switched on the TV. I had a hot date with a trashy movie. Ahhhh, the mindless serenity I thought. Except the TV wouldn’t turn on. After a frustrating 30 mins of trying to work it out, I gave up in disgust.

Talk about disappointing. It was dark, cold and wet outside, so I didn’t fancy a walk. I hadn’t bought a book. Thinking I could watch something on my phone, I discovered the internet speed was ridiculous, so that was a no go unless I also wanted to be sitting on the roof. 

It suddenly struck me. I had nothing to do, no one to talk to and nothing to distract me.

These thoughts started freaking me out. It was a little confusing. I always enjoyed my own company. However, I was beginning to realise that was only when a distraction was between me, myself and I. Kind of confronting really, being panicked about being with myself.

I told myself that there would be other people there in the morning so I would be OK. How crazy is that! In a funk and pretty annoyed at how edgy I felt I simply went to bed to avoid myself.

So what has this got to do with business?

Every small business owner always has more to do. Always busy and never enough time is a common complaint. We always have ‘the business’ as a distraction. Over committing and distraction are ways we avoid ourselves along with all forms of addiction. Why? Well, when there is silence, we are actually able to hear it, and it is unnerving.

We are so used to being ‘on’ and our attention being taken up, given away or filled in that we have forgotten how to be ‘human beings, not human doings’.

For many, there is also lots to avoid; for example, all the emotions that we have put ‘on hold’ because they are painful or just downright scary. Busyness cures this. I thought I was doing a good thing by spending a weekend away but was it of real benefit if I had already planned for it to be filled with distraction? 

The next day my other friends also cancelled.

I was honestly flabbergasted. It really confronted me with having to be my only company. Ultimately that is exactly why I stayed. I spent the next two days, pulling up my big girls’ pants relearning a forgotten skill. I looked for ways to use time, which would still give me the opportunity to be with myself, and I settled on gardening and meditating.

Not only was this physically rewarding, but I felt accomplished, grateful, mentally rested and reconnected in a way I hadn’t for a long time. I experienced a true sense of wellbeing. Is this why people fish?

Rediscover the “human being versus the human doing” way of life.

In terms of the difference between having people there with me or not? Sharing time is definitely enjoyable and good for wellbeing; however, also tiring and just another form of distraction.

In contrast, I felt restored, so much so that I will be doing it again. Additionally, I got my personal health goals back on track.  The positive effects continued, and I had a clear mind for days afterwards with less stress, less busyness and greater productivity.

This time to myself was a kind of ‘do nothing to achieve more’ brain hack if you will. I’m not saying it wasn’t challenging, it really was. However, I encourage you to give it a go, you might rediscover you, and I bet you are awesome.

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