Do Less, Live More

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Why We Should All Do Less, But With More Intention

The fear of not doing enough was gripping closely around my neck. It was slowly restricting my breath and making me feel nauseous. A feeling I’ve had quite often lately, but why? I was wondering why nothing I ever did felt enough. It always had to be more, better, different, improved, changed. But more importantly, how would I be able to start feeling enough and content with everything I did.

Part One: Doing More

I always had this certain feeling of doing more. And it has been a topic that I have often talked about on the blog as well as on the Instagram page of Today I Lived. I know it’s not just me that’s never feeling enough, I might even believe that there is an entire generation of young adults like me who never really feel content with their lives.

There are many reasons for it. It could be our parents who push us to do more, it could be the school system built to always strive for more, it could be the things we see on the internet that tell us to work hard and earn a lot of money, or it could be jealousy created by seeing others succeed and doing the things you would love to do too. All of these are cases of the same problem. That we never feel like we are doing enough, that we feel that there is at any time in the day something to do, something to attend to, or something to solve.

That in many ways has improved our lives. There’s a lot of great things to do. Working, exercising, watching movies, spending time with friends and family, learning, and many more activities are all improving the quality of our lives. That is up to a certain point. That point is what I’ve reached right now. I have reached a point at work where I never feel like I am doing enough. Which creates a strong and nauseating feeling of stress and tension throughout my days. There are a lot of amazing projects I would love to attend to, that I would love to start, to finish, to keep going with, or to come up with, but there’s just not enough time to do all of them.

All things we do can in some sort of way be showcased and bragged about.

This is the culture of always wanting to do more, instead of living more. That is because doing something can be easily shown to the world. If we do something it has a result in the physical world, which can then be showcased to others. We can work hard, earn money and showcase that. We can create a lot of art and showcase that. Or we can exercise a lot, looking fit and showcase that too. All things we do can in some sort of way be showcased and bragged about. At the same time that is causing a lot of unnecessary feelings of tension. After all, we don’t need to do something all the time. Even better, we need to do less to truly feel alive.

I’ve read a lot of self-help books, and have studied the lives of a great number of happy people. They all had one thing in common I noticed. They didn’t do more, they did less. They were extremely intentional with their time and didn’t want to do it all. Doing more might make you believe that you are getting more out of your day, but if you are doing more with a constant feeling of stress or tension you are rather depriving yourself of the richness of life. In my meditation today I resolved a big problem for myself, that is that doing less with more intention enriches my life, where doing more deprives it of that richness.

Doing more might make you believe that you are getting more out of your day, but if you are doing more with a constant feeling of stress or tension you are rather depriving yourself of the richness of life.

Part Two: Do Less With More Intention

The happiest people on this planet are not doing more, they aren’t running multiple businesses or pushing themselves all the time. The happiest people on this planet have come to the understanding that everything is great as it is. That it’s not about how much you do, but with what intentions you do it.

We can do so much because we have created tools that have taken up a lot of the daily tasks we had to do. Like doing the dishes, or washing your clothes, or even cooking food. All these tools have created more space for us, and we have filled that space with different things to do. Things that occupy more of our brains than doing the dishes could ever do. That occupation of our brain creates tension and stress. If we constantly have to be ‘on’, if we constantly have to do, and keep moving, at some point, our bodies will resist and our minds as well. That to me always manifests in tension, stress, and fear.

On the other hand, when I closely observed the lives of the happiest people on this planet, like monks, or people like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, but also CEOs like Bill Gates or Robin Sharma, they all had one thing in common. They didn’t do a lot. They did great things, and have changed the world. These are all incredibly happy people, but they never fill their entire days with things to do. Gandhi made sure he had a lot of time for meditation and prayer. Nelson Mandela had a lot of time for his family, but also for prayer, and thinking. Bill Gates regularly goes on so-called ‘think weeks’, where he is completely alone and does nothing more than reading and think.

It made me realize that living a meaningful, loving, and joyful life wasn’t about doing more, but the intention that was behind everything I did. To feel alive, to truly be alive I didn’t have to do a lot, or experience as much as possible. But to be totally aware and intentional of what I get to do at this very moment. As well as be intentional with choosing the things I do. I would love to create a lot, to write hours each day and besides that create videos, courses, books, social media content, and the list goes on. I just won’t be able to do that. I have learned today that to fully be alive I need to do less, and be more intentional with everything I do choose to do.

We should all strive to do less, but with more intention. We should strive to focus on a few tasks each day, and have plenty of time to live. To enjoy a friend. To sit in silence. To enjoy a good book, or to drink a cup of tea, soda, water, or coffee. Cramming our days with things to do will overload our fragile human minds. They are powerful, but by always doing and pushing we keep giving it new information, and new things to think about and register. If we never take time to do nothing, let alone to think of the intentions behind the things we do, we will overrun ourselves. Therefore I say, let’s do less, be more intentional with what we do, and live more.

Part Three: Live More

Live more. That’s what I’ve always been about, but often have to remind myself of. We can always strive to do new things, to try new things, and do better. I don’t want to stop improving, or trying new things. It’s part of life to experiment, explore, adventure, and most of all to grow. I am not saying that we should stop doing this. We should instead be intentional and think about the things we want to do. What makes you come to life? What are the things that you can bring to the world? There could be a million things, that’s the beauty of being human. We have a vast potential to try things and to become incredible at doing them. Yet the question remains, what do we love to do most, and even more important what can we do that brings the world the most benefit.

That’s why we should be more intentional with the things we do. It means saying no to more things, that also means saying no to friends, and family so you can work if you want to. That also means taking more time to do nothing and to relax. That also means to say no to exercising every single day and give yourself a little break. Let’s live more, and do less. Let’s be intentional with the things we do. So everything we do carries meaning. That means doing work you love, but not doing too much of it so that you burn out. That means exercising to stay healthy, but not pushing yourself too far so that your body will wear out. That also means meeting up with friends, but not too much so that you skip doing the incredible work you get to do each day.

It’s about balance so that we can be mindful, present, and alive during everything we do. We can keep pushing all the time, we can keep doing things all the time, but the question should always be. Does it make me say Today I Lived! Or does it give me stress, tension, or pressure, that takes away from my day? After all, we should make the most of our days, which doesn’t mean we should do a lot. That means we should live to the fullest, by being intentional with the things we do. So that at the end of our day we can say Today I Lived! I made the most of it.

Thanks for reading, I hope I helped you with this, just as much as I helped myself. If you love this topic and the topic of living and enjoying the beauty of life, be sure to follow me on Instagram @today.i.lived where we appreciate and celebrate life together. As well as following the newsletter I send out each week which is called Rise With The Sun. In these newsletters, I share 3 beauties of life, it’s very short yet also really intentional and purposeful. I hope to see you there or in one of my next stories. Have an amazing day, and remember Today You Live! Make The Most of It.

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