Running Frantically with Nowhere to Go

Oh, those frenzied individuals that you run into in public. The ones that make a race out of pushing their grocery cart throughout the store but then can’t seem to find what they are seeking. Worse is the impatient person in line at a fast-food restaurant. You hear him rant about waiting so long and wish those people in front of him would hurry up.

Then when it is their turn to order, they can’t make up their mind. The fast-food patron never thought about their order and thus took the longest time. But they are oblivious to their actions. They are only frantic individuals, losing focus, losing purpose, and perturbing those around them.

Where it hits home the hardest is in our workplace — managers and executives who press on and wreak havoc amongst their co-workers. When asked for direction or plans, they have none, but expect everyone to run; but with nowhere to go.

Rollo May, an American psychologist, stated it well, “It is an old ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way.

Men who do too much know little about moderation. These individuals only turn up the heat without regard to the problem at hand. They all have this false belief that motion is being productive. It’s not. Motion only camouflages indecision or lack of focus.

I love to grill in the summer. If, for some strange reason, I lit the grill only to realize that I did not have any meat in the house, it does not make throwing more charcoal on the grill, and thus a hotter grate makes the desired protein appear. Of course, it’s crazy!

Ernest Hemingway, a famous novelist, said, “Never confuse motion with action.” Even in our childhood days, as young boys or girls, we learned or perhaps knew innately that looking busy was productive. Then when the situation called for it, we could look swamped. Then, how many of these creatures do you know today?

We need to teach ourselves that our failure to always be on course is part of life’s process. We need to be kinder to ourselves. We need to understand those afflicted with “busyness.” And for the sake of our health and for those who care for us. Slow down. Unfortunately, this “busyness” kept at bay, stymies any intimacy, any commitment, any real and positive steps towards our inner well being or peace. Our “busyness” hindered our business of life.

When I catch myself behaving frantically, I’ll stop and think about my reason for it, and attempt to focus on the task at hand.

We wrongly taught ourselves that motion is honorable even if using activity as a cover-up. Wearing a Flash Gordon costume does not make you a Flash Gordon.

Action implies decision, accomplishment, and commitment. Action is not motion. Yet so many of us get the two concepts confused.

Decide not to act frantically to mask my emotions or merely to look busy. Learn the difference between motion and action.



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Brad G. Philbrick

Brad G. Philbrick

Brad earned a B.S. degree in Pharmacy from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND.