The Power of “Not Now”

the power of not now (blog post)

This blog post highlights the idea of the “not now”: how can we “maximize our lives”, be careful about “politeness” as well as “unhelpful thoughts”?

Keywords: behavior, communication, conversations, dialogue, law of attraction, maximizing our lives, optimizing our experience, politeness.

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One of the many things that we, as human beings, are rather good at is being polite. Admittedly, there are rude people in the world. But all in all, I think many people almost are experts at being polite. From my point of view, I think that’s no overstatement.

Maximizing” Our Lives

Why is this important? It’s important because we need to “maximize” our lives. Not in the sense of expanding our bodily frame, or optimizing our “production output” as working bees, but in terms of our overall happiness, well-being, and sanity.

So how does “politeness” and “maximizing our lives” connect?

Well, as I see it, politeness is, in (very) small doses, a good thing. We may not always FEEL like helping a fellow human in need, and yet we may still help the old lady crossing the street, or the young boy finding his way to the local bus station.

So in such situations, then, our “innate” politeness sort of helps us to do good things for other people.

But it’s not only that. There’s actually something more important going on. And that is that I am also helping myself, at the same time. For I am interrupting my own “busy-ness”; I’m interrupting my indulging in my own persona.

“Unhelpful” Thoughts

So by being out and about in the world, I’m learning to master the art of “switching focus”, from me to them. And this is good for many people (if not most people). For in my estimation, at least, most people are very busy thinking “unhelpful” thoughts about themselves and the world. (And I myself, of course, do that from time to time, as well, even now.)

So when we are put in such a situation, we are, for a moment, relieved from our “unhelpful thoughts”. Thus, this interruption has, in fact helped us to minimize our anxieties and stress. And I think it’s a good idea to appreciate that interruption more.

Thus, instead of feeling irritated of being “disturbed”, we should be thankful that we got interrupted, so that we stopped thinking those “unhelpful thoughts”. Because that actually felt good; or at least felt better than those “unhelpful thoughts” felt.

So far so good. Enter the Naysayer.

The Naysayer

So you’re sitting at your local cafe. It’s a wonderful early afternoon. The weather is fantastic, and your double espresso is extraordinary, and the atmosphere of the whole place is calm and relaxed.

Enter the naysayer. A middle-aged, scruffy-looking woman decides to take the only free table just two feet away. She immediately starts complaining about this and that, and she asks, in a rhetoric kind of way: “Don’t you agree?”

Judging from the “delivery” of this sentence (i.e. the non-wavering and assured quality of her “performance”), it seems rather improbable that she would accept “No” as an answer. She has already taken a stance, so to speak, with her attitude. In fact, it’s mostly her attitude, as opposed to her words, that demonstrates this.

So what to do? Should I be polite and, smilingly, start conversing with her? Or should I just try to ignore her?

“Not Now”

The answer is: “None of the above”. In such a clear-cut case (when images, words, voices, and vibrations all say the same thing), there is only one way out: to prepare to leave.

For what will otherwise happen? Well, if I engage in a conversation with her, she is, most certainly, not going to “back down”. I mean, she may back down on some particular topic; but then she will immediately jump to some other topic and start her criticism there, instead. So there’s little hope for a pleasant conversation.

And what if I simply sit quiet, and (try to) mind my own business? Well, in my estimation, this particular woman won’t be so easily stopped by my non-engagement. This is a woman who always talks. C’est une bavarde. So she will just start on her mobile phone instead.

So the best thing to do, for the protection of one’s inner positive nature, is to mentally prepare to leave immediately (even if it may turn out that she herself, for some reason, has to leave early). For a good inner mood is the secret to everything.

The “practical” way of responding to her (rhetoric) question is, therefore, to say something like “Sorry, I’m in the middle of something already,” after which you continue to write with your fountain pen in your notebook, as if nothing had happened.

Another natural, and efficient, use of your precious time, would be to go to the bathroom right now. This is because you want to prepare yourself for leaving, if she finds a talking partner. So if she still hasn’t found a talking partner after you return from your bathroom visit, then there might be a slight possibility that you can stay, and continue to be productive (and happy).

But in the (more likely) event that she has found a talking partner at the time you are returning from the bathroom, then you just pack your things and go. This is the best strategy for continuing being productive, and, more importantly, continuing to being happy. Life is all about stopping, relaxing, and going somewhere else.

Chris Bocay

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Copyright © 2019 by Chris Bocay. All rights reserved.

Last update: Wed 25 Dec 2019.

Cite as: Bocay, Chris (2019) “The Power of ‘Not Now’”. Website: <https://chrisbocay.com>. Accessed: [today’s date].

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