• Barbie Winterbottom

Addicted to Busy II - Finding Your Why

Happy Wednesday everyone!

A couple weeks ago I posted a video and an article on being “Addicted to Busy”. After the fantastic comments, conversations and direct messages I received, it is clear this is something many of you (and I) would like to explore further and so throughout the month of August, I will be centering much of my content around this theme.

As American’s we are addicted to busy. We fill our days and nights with meetings, activities, calls, errands, social media stalking and posting. (pre-COVID) We are constantly running our kids around like a gang of badass chauffeurs pulling in on 2 wheels because we are late from the previous kids event-but we get them there as we must ensure they have all the best experiences possible in art, music, sports, play dates, birthday parties and mall visits. We have somehow deemed ourselves parents and entertainment managers for our children...but that’s a whole different topic.

We create lives so busy, we forget WHY we do so many of the things we do. What is our end goal or even short term goal? Are we simply on the treadmill and have lost sight of our purpose for being there in the first place?

Have you ever felt like you were on auto-pilot? You know, the times when you left the house and got to your destination only to stop and think, WHOA...how did I get here? I believe those moments happen because our brains need a time-out. Our bodies are screaming at us to slow down and if we don’t start to listen to the subtle messages, the messages get louder and louder until they cannot be ignored and we find ourselves forced to stop in one way or another. I have had a couple of those messages in the past few months, and I will share them in my next article, for this reading, I want to focus on how we must start to reframe what we value and why.

As I was thinking about writing this article I had a flashback from a book I read at least 10 years ago while I was in Key West, “The Millionaire in Flip Flops”, written by Sue Cooper. I have thought of this book so many times throughout the years and the parable she shared has stayed with me as it beautifully illustrates the ridiculousness of capitalism and how we turn ourselves inside out to do more, build more, achieve more and buy more in an attempt to convince ourselves we ARE more and in the process we completely forget or lose sight of our WHY.

I have since researched this parable and have found a few versions online and while I credit “The Millionaire in Flip Flops”, by Sue Cooper for introducing me to it, the version below is copied from a blog I found online. (https://paulocoelhoblog.com/)

I hope you will find this parable as impactful as I did and perhaps even take a step back to think about all the things and people in your life, your time, your attention, what you prioritize and why.

The parable:

There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.

As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite a few big fish.

The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”

The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”

“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.

“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.

The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”

The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.

“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman continues, “And after that?”

The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”

The fisherman asks, “And after that?”

The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”

The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”

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