THE BENEFITS OF DOING NOTHING For decades, overstimulation and abundance in many areas of life in the Western world have developed from a welcome richness into a pesky evil. We are constantly fed new information and overwhelmed with more work and more distraction.
With backgrounds in neuroscience, art and new media, as well as leadership development, integral health and coaching, two oddballs from Austria, Herwig Kopp and Norbert Trompeter, have been pouring their creative energy into the art of idleness. In 2006, they founded the non-profit organization ADN.
When we do more and more we do in fact feel more productive, useful, efficient, responsive and on duty – at best, 25 hours a day. Yet is this sustainable? We may be reaching our targets, but at what cost?
They claim that the antidote to the rat race is: doing nothing, but constructively. By ‘doing nothing’, they mean a shift from outer activities to inner ones. By inner actions, they mean aiming for seemingly purposeless actions like watching the clouds, listening to the wind, smelling flowers, focusing on breathing, and being aware of what is going on in your mind. The trick is not holding onto any thoughts tightly, but instead letting it all pass you by. And of course, activities such as reading a newspaper or book, surfing the web, and pondering over problems do not count as purely inner activities, in their opinion.
If we keep finding ourselves in Catch-22 scenarios, it’s inevitable for us to become less productive and not so efficient, because we’ll be using up our energy, while we won’t have the time to recharge our batteries. What can we do if we have no time for anything anymore? “Abundance is leading us to our limits,” say Herwig Kopp and Norbert Trompeter, the founders of the Association of Diversification and Novelty (ADN). They point out that we have known the rules of scarcity for thousands of years, but, as a society, we haven’t yet learned how to deal with abundance.
In August 2013, Kopp and Trompeter conducted a selfexperiment in which they did nothing for a quarter of their workday. Their hypothesis was that this would inspire people and make them more relaxed, focused
A creative writing competition, interview with William Hertling & celebrating Doing Nothing Day!