Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:December 30th, 2007 08:38 EST
Ben on Idle...A New Years Revolution

Ben on Idle...A New Years Revolution

By Deremiah *CPE (Mentor/Columnist)

Where they used injection-molding machines to make plastic handles for coffee pots in a factory is where I learned a great deal about being idle.  Designing a complex security system for my client that afternoon I noticed she seemed a little distracted as one of the machines caught her attention.  In a panicky fit, she asked me to wait as she grabbed the phone off the wall and quickly contacted someone to repair the machine.  The machine appeared to be working at least I heard it running but what she noticed was far more important...it wasn`t producing anything.  Do you ever notice the times when you`re very busy but not producing anything?  A sort of running in circles but no production.  When we`re working but not producing anything, we`re running idle like that machine and that`s a very poor use of our time.  If you pause, a moment you could learn a lot from a good friend of mine from history named Benjamin Franklin and he said it like this..."Be always ashamed to catch thyself idle". While being a hard worker is a good thing, failing to be productive is a common attribute of our age.  So how have you been on idleness?

Does being busy mean I`m not idle?

Shame is an emotion that comes with feelings of guilt, of which I`m not a promoter of either, and neither was Benjamin Franklin.  But Mr. Franklin-- who spent a great deal of time observing the details of life-- drew a conclusion on idleness.  His beliefs must have been based upon the many human failures he saw ,so he concluded that you should adopt the negative emotion of shame if you caught yourself idle. 

Now if I asked most people, they`d quickly say that they`re never idle... oh no not me!  The truth be told, most of us would be quite accurate based on our definition of idle but here is where the problem lies.  Idle means not going anywhere. It is the opposite of being actively productive.  Like my clients injection molding machine, it was quite busy running that day but it wasn`t producing what it should have been producing. 

Ben learned idleness doesn`t pay...it cost you. When Benjamin Franklin took his first trip to England as a teenager, he spent an awful amount of time learning and experimenting with life.  Although he had a good time ripping, running and exploring, his return trip back to the U.S. caused him to think a lot about his experience.  It was then that Benjamin realized, although he was quite busy he wasn`t nearly as productive as he should have been.  This experience inspired young Ben to decide it was time to grow up.  So he included "Industry" as one of his 13 virtues written in his journal, as he sailed back to America.  Challenging ourselves to think about the tough questions concerning our productivity is part of growing up.  

Like Mr. Franklin, there are many times we find ourselves so busy we are exhausted.  But when we examine our being busy versus productivity, we must conclude like the teenage Benjamin Franklin that we`ve just been idle.  Many spend a lifetime full of unproductive years before we ask the question that challenged a young teenage lad named Benjamin Franklin to consider how he was being idle.  Idleness doesn`t pay huge dividends, it just cost us more of the precious time we wish we could redeem at the end of our lives.

Proud productivity is better than idle shame  

Using our ability to be industrious will make us proudly productive.  The shame that comes with idleness will have to fall off as our productivity increases.  Furthermore, it will help us to avoid the draining emotional feelings of shame that comes with being idle.  It`s a known fact in the industries of education and modern psychology that the growth of our self-esteem is tied to the growth of our productivity. This indirectly and directly makes others around us more confident in themselves when we entreat them with the joy we are experiencing.  So as you strive to improve your life today, stop to think "am I being busy or am I being productive?". 

If you can honestly say that you`re actively producing something of value and simultaneously you`re moving forward, pat yourself on the back twice.  You`ll be a lot happier when you can honestly say "I`m giving my employer an honest day`s labor for an honest day`s pay", and if you`re your own employer get ready to cash the dividend checks (smile). 

Why do people willfully choose to be idle?  I`m not sure, but I believe if you knew better, you`d do better. Remember there are no real problems only a failure to be more creative than we`ve ever been. If you invent your opportunity, you`ll create your future.

Is there anything else I can do for you?

Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE

(c) 2007 by Deremiah *CPE, Customer Passion Executive

Deremiah *CPE, Customer Passion Executive.  A "Top 25" Marketing Expert on Marketingprofs.com.  This Nightingale Conant Award-Winning Speaker, Artist & Inventor, has shown hundreds of Customer Passion Evangelist, CEO`s, Consultants and Sales people how to use his simple but tremendous techniques.   Using the Servant`s Mentality to expand the footprint of many companies as he increases customer relationships and simultaneously helps At-Risk Children in the communities where you do business every day. Reach Deremiah at www.byderemiah.com and leave your email address.