The Importance of Doing Nothing


Getty Images

Solitude is the most prominent way to achieve self-actualization and understanding.

Maya Zohar, Reporter

Competition…that is what is installed in the minds of the children in this generation. They were raised to believe that if they do not take rigorous courses or are not interested in any sports and a million different clubs, they will not succeed. Perhaps they think that they will not get into “the best” college, or maybe they feel as though they will fail their parents’ high expectations of them to be better than the rest of their classmates. Ultimately, due to these false standards, what once was a sweet and innocent child, now grew to be a competitive teenager who must do everything in their power to “win.” Even if that means looking past others’ needs as well as their own. When it comes down to it, the person who ends up genuinely winning at life is not the one with five cars, a mansion, and a dog. Instead, they are the people that accomplished what they wanted to without losing sight of themselves; they grew and learned more about their own inner peace outside of society’s opinions. 


The concept of peace with isolation is not a new theory. Writers, philosophers, and poets have been exploring this ideology for centuries; they are also known as transcendentalists, those who have knowledge that “transcends” humans basic senses of sight, smell, sound, and touch. One of the most Well-known transcendentalists, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote an entire essay called “self-reliance.” He highlighted the benefits of independence from society’s materialistic views and needs. In his essay, Emerson states that “the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” The “great man” that Emerson describes is confident and self-assured to such an extent that it doesn’t matter who they are around; their individuality is untouched. Unfortunately, with the growing media where everyone compares each other and the competitive colleges and jobs that people are risking their mental health for, maintaining that individuality is easier said than done. 

Luckily, there is a solution that could help countlessly stressed out adolescents and kids as long as they are willing. All they need to do is absolutely nothing. Doing nothing, even if it is just for a couple of hours, opens the mind up to numerous possibilities. Instead of stressing about what needs to be done next, they have a chance to relax and reflect on their own mental and even physical health. They can begin asking more critical questions such as “am I happy?” and “what do I want to do?” Only when they have a chance to bring peace to their minds will they discover more about their hidden potentials and how much they can truly make a difference. Our very own school psychologist Ms. Townsend urges this alone time by explaining that it can “help train your brain into positive thinking.” Though it may sound like a simple task, it is not easy for most to be by themselves and with their own thoughts. Most of the time, people learn that they have a lot of internal conflicts and are too afraid to face them, especially alone. If that is the case, there are plenty of professionals that will do everything they can to help, Ms.Townsend being one of them. Eventually, once those conflicts have been resolved and you look in the mirror, you will realize that “great man” Emerson mentioned is, in fact, your own reflection.