By Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director
I noticed a disturbing trend in my language this fall. A four-letter word was figuring prominently in my vocabulary: busy.
Busy, busy, busy. My answer to questions about how I was doing, my running monologue in my head: busy, busy, busy.
The more I heard myself use it, the more I realized that I was using it as a crutch in so many ways. The more I heard others use it, the more I realized it was an exhausting to listen to and not terribly attractive to witness. And I don’t know about you but, no matter what my schedule or responsibilities consist of, I want to lead a beautiful life, and not a ‘busy’ one.
And so I welcomed the insights within a blog article entitled “Busy Isn’t Respectable Anymore” that circulated on social networks recently. In it, Tyler Ward outlines how ‘busyness’ is no longer respectable but actually can indicate, among other things, that we’re not managing our time well, that we lack self-confidence, and it can even negatively impact our work as well as our lives. He goes onto describe an experiment a friend undertook in which he eliminated the word ‘busy’ from his vocabularly for an entire year. If you haven’t yet read the article (too busy? hmm?) then do so now.
Done reading? Welcome back.
What does this mean for us as students, as pro-life student leaders and activists? How can we turn ‘busy’ into beautiful?
I suspect I’ll be figuring out the answer to that question for the rest of my life but in the meantime, I’d like to propose two ways we can turn busy into beautiful – and improve our effectiveness as pro-life campus leaders in the process.
1) Adjust our attitudes.
Attitude is contagious. How we decide to approach our to-do list, our balancing of school, courses, athletics, AND pro-life activism will rub off on others. Do we talk about it as a complaint, a burdensome thing that is sucking the very life out of us? Well, good luck recruiting new members if that’s the sales pitch! Is it a privilege, a sacrifice worth making, an amazing group of people to collaborate with? Now that is the kind of group I would want to join.
A positive attitude, even amongst a very full schedule, actually goes a long way to contribute to your wellbeing. And a busy attitude? Well, as Ward’s article states,
“Busy, it would seem, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more we said it – the more we felt it. The more we felt – the more we acted like it. The more we acted like it – (well, you know the rest). Guess what? When we quit saying it, we reversed SOME (not all) of the craziness.”
It’s not that you ignore the fact that there’s a lot going on; you simply don’t allow it to make you miserable and frantic. And believe me, operating at a frantic pace really just manages to exhaust you and everyone else.
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off, occupied and ‘busy’. What matters is, ultimately, what I did and if what I did really mattered. Did I take care of what really mattered so that the staff and students’ needs are being served? Was my team served or did they suffer because of my leadership?
It’s a work in progress, but trust me, even a bit of progress can go a long way to help you and those around you – including your club.
2) Focus on the beautiful, not the busy.
In attempting to remove ‘busy’ from my vocabulary, I struggled to figure out what to say instead. I decided to try to share a bit of beauty instead of just the busy. It helped me adjust my attitude, as I discussed above, because I began noticing how much beauty is in my life.
I also began to realize I was missing out on a lot. It’s much easier to answer ‘How are you?’ with ‘busy’ and leave it at that. It’s easier to talk about the to-do list circulating in my brain instead of the amazing things I get to be a part of.
So instead of pulling out a laundry list to impress people with how little you sleep and how much you work, speak instead of something that has blessed you or interested you. Even simple questions like “How are you?”, “How was work?”, “How was school?”, “How is the pro-life club?” are opportunities to value those we come into contact with, to truly engage with them in a conversation, and to invest in the relationships.
Take it a step farther: use these as opportunities to share the amazing things you are doing on campus. If you have an event coming up, share your excitement about it. Now you have the opening to invite your friend to be a part of it, either by helping with the organizing or even just attending. Imagine the impact this could have on the membership of your club is even a few members of your leadership team started doing this!
Easier said than done? Absolutely. But make a start:
- Try eliminating ‘busy’ from your vocabulary – even just for a month;
- Share the beautiful instead of the busy when people ask you how you are or how school/work/pro-life activism is going;
- Use opportunities of sharing the beautiful to invite people to be a part of it by joining the club and coming out to the events.
We, as pro-life students, are the voices of life on our campuses. In most cases, we are the only opportunity that our peers will have to hear the pro-life message on campus. We owe it to our peers and, most importantly, to all those babies whose lives are on the line to speak up and stand up. There are many things we will need to be in order to serve the cause and merely ‘busy’ is not one of them. Let us, instead, be beautiful, bold, courageous, and attentive to what matters and the opportunities that surround us. Let us, together, make 2014 a year of beauty.