Imagine that you are sitting in the center of a football stadium that is packed with people. You’re down on the field, at your desk, minding your own business, with the crowd of people at a dull roar, and it’s fine.
Now imagine that the voice of one of the people in the crowd catches your attention. Your ear tunes into the conversation, and you’re distracted for a moment while you listen. You can hear them discussing what to have for lunch, and even though it has nothing to do with you, you think, “ew, I don’t like that.”
Then you start thinking about all of the places you like to eat lunch and when you might go there and what you like to order. Before you know it, you’re texting a friend to make a date.
Turning back to your work, you hear another conversation in the back of the stadium. Someone is talking about something that someone else did. You listen, and then even though it has nothing to do with you, you think, “that’s messed up. I wouldn’t do it that way. I would be mad if that happened to me.”
Then you hear another. And another. You get up and start offering advice to the people. You try to solve their problems. They begin to line up, and before you know it everyone in the stadium is crowding around you, asking what they should do and what you think about their situation, and you become absorbed in the melee.
By the end of the day you’re exhausted, but confused. You’ve been working really, really hard, but somehow none of your work got done. How could that be when you are so busy, and so tired?
Now let’s imagine a different scenario. You’re back at your desk in the football stadium, surrounded by the chattering crowd, but this time when a voice creeps into your awareness, you don’t listen. You notice it, say, “that happened,” and go back to your work without stopping to make an opinion about what you heard or investigate it further. You just notice that you heard it, acknowledge that it happened, and MYOB.
Now here is part of the story I did not reveal at the start. All of those chattering people in the stands? They are your thoughts. Hundreds of thousands of thoughts that come through your mind throughout the day, asking your opinion. But the reality is that only a fraction of them need any attention at all. In fact, you can allow the majority of them to pass by you without even a glance.
You can sit in the center of the stadium, with the hum of thoughts buzzing around you, knowing that they are chattering, and not stop to decide what you think. You may discover that by releasing yourself from the job of being the Decider of All Things actually frees up your mind and energy for the things that actually matter.
Give it a try this week! Sit in the stadium, wave to the crowd once in a while, and let them have conversations with each other without your input. When your important work is done, go mingle with them. You may find that they’ve solved all of their problems without you, and things are actually nice and quiet in there.
Your thoughts want your attention, but they don’t need it. Give them a nod and MYOB!