Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors of all time and one of the world’s wealthiest individuals. He also has some very astute observations about life.
My favourite is his observation that:
‘Busy is the new stupid.’
One time he was in discussion with another super successful person, Bill Gates, and they touched upon the subject of productivity.
Buffett got out his diary and what was in it?
Tons of space.
They said, “It should not be a sign of success that you have no space in your diary, yet it seems that is how we define ourselves in the business world.”
Busyness is a symptom not a cause
I used to think that when I felt overwhelmed and like I had no space and time in my life, it was because of all the things I had to get done. I would pack in lots of meetings and then have little time to follow up properly, so I always seemed to have a backlog.
I often see the same situation with financial planners and advisers. I realised that one of their biggest challenges is how to make more money, in less time, and without feeling burned out in the process.
Are these outcomes appealing to you?
If so, the most useful starting point for this is not where most ‘experts’ will tell you to look.
Because the primary cause of busyness and overwhelm is NOT a full schedule.
We project our state of mind outwards onto the world. So, in other words, a busy state of mind is what makes our external world look busy.
This is not to say that there are not beneficial changes you can make to the way you work, but this is not the most useful starting point.
If you have tried to slow down and failed, you are not alone
The conventional approach to being more productive is better management of your time, tasks or self.
There is a massive amount of this kind of information available in books, articles, videos, audio’s, and podcasts.
Yet what is really new and ground-breaking in most of this?
The problem with seeing the external world as the cause of busyness and overwhelm is that it will often result in you feeling victimised or bullied by your circumstances. And it will also keep you stuck because this is reinforcing the illusion.
A radical new approach to productivity
Instead of looking outside, we want to begin to look inside instead. Look towards where busyness originates because this is where the solution is.
Our feelings can only ever come from our thoughts. So, if our life seems busy it is because we are doing a lot of thinking.
Again, the conventional wisdom is all about controlling or managing your thinking. Yet this is an impossible job.
You wouldn’t try to manage your digestive process, your breathing, the blinking of your eyes, or any one of thousands of other processes that are a function of being alive, would you?
So, why try to manage your thinking?
A quieter, more peaceful state of mind, which is really what we are looking for, is innate. It is what we naturally fall back into when our thinking subsides. Your mind, just like all your other functions, is designed to work without your intervention.
My favourite Warren Buffett quote and why it matters
For me, when I heard ‘Busy is the new stupid’ it was a slightly crude way of pointing out that if your mind is full up all the time you will have little space to think anything new.
And it is always new thinking that moves you forwards and opens up new possibilities. Busyness just keeps you stuck.
P.S. If you enjoyed this article then you may also enjoy, ‘Sharpening the saw’. Click here to read.