It’s not about being busy or not busy — it’s about being busy on your own terms. I used to think I was busy during my early private equity days, with late nights and what not. But, the reality is that I am as busy, if not busier, doing my own thing now. It’s just that it doesn’t feel busy because everything is on my own terms. I do when I want to do, and I sleep when I want to sleep. However, creeping busyness can still happen!
Systems of enslavement
It takes conscious determination to break free from systems that peddle mental enslavement through carrot and stick. The vanilla deal that is offered is to trade your freedom (time and independence) for status and money. But, trading your freedom for status and money has psychological — even profoundly existential — costs. It can disempower you from having agency in your life.
And, I am not just talking about the classic dichotomy of corporate employment versus being your own boss. You can become the victim of creeping enslavement even working for yourself.
You might chase growth for expansion or merely to want to conquer new mountains. And, that can put you on a treadmill. Each action can take you deeper and deeper into a system that binds you through creeping busyness.
The diary is filled by things you would rather do without, but they must be done if the growth is to be sustained. And, so the wheel turns. The only release is to consciously stay small — to notice and actively say “no” to the binds that try to enslave us. But this calls on you to prioritise what it is that you truly want. Is it running faster-and-faster just to stand still? Or, is it freedom in how you manage your time and your life?
In the end, you must decide what you value more. There is no free lunch.
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.