"To watch the courses of the stars as if you revolved with them. To keep constantly in mind how the elements alter into one another. Thoughts like this wash off the mud of life below." — Marcus Aurelius
If you’ve ever been to Italy or you have some good Italian friends you probably know the phrase Dolce far niente.
It literally means ‘sweet doing nothing’. To some of us, this is a strange concept, but it’s something I’d like to dig into today.
The art of doing nothing is actually the time we need to take to reflect, think, sit, and just be. I was on stage this week, at an amazing event that Follow Up Boss hosted in Las Vegas and I spoke about focusing on oneself. The phrase Dolce far niente was on my mind.
If you’re like most people you get most of your ideas while you’re in the shower or while you put your head on the pillow ready to sleep. I have friends that tell me, "I have to have a pad in the shower because that’s where I get my best ideas!"
Well, let me break something to you like I told the 1200 people in the audience a couple of days ago. You’re getting your best ideas in the shower and when you’re about to go to sleep because you’re giving yourself no time to actually sit and think. No time to reflect to let yourself drift into deeper thoughts!
You’re living a more reactive life! Think about it, you’re practically extinguishing your creativity and passion for life and it's longing to come out when it finds a moment in the shower and right before you sleep!
Learning how to take time for ourselves is not something we are normally taught. To take time to do nothing, yet at the same time be doing something, something that is most important to your existence. This reminds me of a quote by Seneca, "Living is the least important activity of the preoccupied man; yet there is nothing which is harder to learn."
Here’s the remedy. Every day you must block 20-30 minutes of self-time. Time to think. Time to be in a quiet place to reflect. A moment to collect your thoughts and to be able to see the invisible opportunities in your life. A moment to be thankful and grateful for life itself.
Today or this week, take a moment for Dolce far niente.