The Importance Of Uselessness

Being useless feels awful.

Being useful feels good, doesn\’t it?

It is nice to feel valued and know we are valued. It helps us to feel secure.

It also means we are supported by others and welcome in the world.

Is There A Stigma For Uselessness?

As a highly sensitive person, I suspect that the highly sensitive suffer more from the label of uselessness because:

  • we need more rest and frequent breaks
  • we are not handy for dramas and emergencies since we operate more slowly
  • we question many things, including others\’ views of what is useful – like I am doing now!

Busyness often seems like much ado about nothing.

The Problem With Being Useful

We live in a very strange time. People are expected to be highly productive. However, despite the demands for productivity, machines often replace us.

We are filling the planet with huge amounts of garbage – the residue of our productivity. We are becoming sicker and sicker from our efforts to survive in a system that makes us obsolete.

Being productive does not mean taking good care of ourselves. It does not mean developing greater self-reliance. It means participating in the consumption business: supporting it, making it work, and reaping rewards.

In other words, being dependent on it.

Busyness Is NOT A Sign Of Intelligence

Busyness has a fatal flaw. It keeps us engaged tactically and removes us from considering the big picture. The picture is one way we connect with perspective. It integrates past, present, and future. I notice when the big picture and present activities are at odds. That means that busyness does not make us masters of our fate. Just the opposite.

Busyness does not seem like such a great deal. It is worth asking ourselves why we are doing all this.

Why are we?

Are You Engaged?

Many people think of being busy as the same thing as being engaged. Often we are made to think that slowing down is a kind of disengagement, even an abandonment of our responsibilities.

But engagement demands a lot of presence. Busyness does not. So when we are very busy in many ways, we increase our disengagement with life. We stop asking important questions about what we are doing and why.

Why Uselessness Improves Engagement

When we are being useless (the same thing as giving ourselves some space), we are open to whatever comes our way. Whatever information that needs to shape our perception comes when we are at that moment of rest and open to it.

When we are useless, we are open to a different agenda. It could be the voice of our innermost self speaking to us. It could be an awareness of the big picture that shows itself to us.

Nothing can reach us if we are not receptive. So uselessness is a way of being receptive to inputs from any sources. When we are receptive, we engage differently, in a more informed, and complete way. It shows up in our work. We do work that is more on point. We waste less time on that which is irrelevant or unimportant, and we know the difference.

We rise to the level of creator and steward, which gives us and others a greater experience of satisfaction. Adopting the openness of being useless lets us sidestep busyness for a form of engagement that is rewarding to us. Our receptivity will reward us with greater enjoyment and fulfillment.

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

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