The Cost of Doing Nothing

Random Observation/Comment #446: A step forward could sometimes be a step backwards, but at least you took a step.

see lemons do nothing

What is the cost of doing nothing? This was probably the most profound thing I’ve heard after 2 days of training for writing business cases, so I figure I’d address all the random tangents I thought about from this one line:

  • I’m having a quarter life crisis and feeling older so I need to proactively keep myself updated with the latest technology so I stay relevant and competitive in the work place. I have to be honest, I only thought about this because we’re having a TEDx about proactive learning. In some cases, I think it’s paranoia, but in others, I don’t think you should be in the technology field if you don’t stay up-to-date with technology. It’s like imagining a trekkie who also doesn’t like learning about new futuristic gadgets. It doesn’t exist! Geeks will be geeks.
  • I let others set my goals and lead my life. Sometimes doing nothing means aiming for nothing. Very easily, we can fall into a rut and have someone else run our career path or life for us. Whether it’s your managers dictating your day to day tasks while your family responsibilities take over your other side of life or your friends planning things and you just tagging along, there’s a lack of motivation.
  • Doing nothing means giving up free will.  We are gifted with the ability to do.  You have the power to make things happen and the cost of doing nothing is giving up free will all together. You’re succumbing to mediocrity and the drone consumer the government and big businesses want you to be.
  • I’m lazy and I try to do the least amount of work possible. If you’re able to come up with a negative cost associated with doing work, or better yet, a positive cost for doing something else unrelated to the goal at hand, then it’s easy to convince yourself that doing nothing (or anything other than what you consider work) is better.
  • It’s easy to do nothing, but you will pay for it later.  This ties into the business jargon of “Cost Avoidance.” Let’s say you have an old car that no one knows how to service. The longer you wait to upgrade, the more expensive the person you need to hire to help you will be and the more other costs will start to increase. In the IT world, an outage on a trading application could cost the firm a million dollars.  Telling your manager that you’re spending a fraction of that to address a known issue is a big motivator.
  • Relationships take work. Whether you’re single, in a relationship, or married, your partner is a complex ball of emotions.  I think doing nothing in a relationship comes off as being too comfortable and focusing on other issues. There needs a healthy amount of friction to keep a relationship alive and effort on both sides to make it work. Doing nothing means seeing a relationship whither.
  • Change should be embraced.  When it comes to personal and professional life, it’s always easier to do nothing or even resist. The truth is that being open minded and flexible to changes in your environment will lead to more opportunities and at least learning new things.
  • Stand up for justice. I firmly believe that doing nothing when seeing something bad is as guilty as doing something bad. Although I’m not religious, I do empathize and would want others to help someone I loved if I couldn’t.
  • It’s sometimes better to do nothing. I thought of this specifically for my bitcoin and dogecoin trading. I invested a certain amount of money into it and made my profits, but in the long run, it was probably a good idea not to react to sudden changes in the market. It will literally drive you mad if you keep trying to play this guessing game.

Your answers may be different, but I kept thinking how it applied to my personal, professional, and spiritual life.  Interesting enough, doing nothing is not actually the passive choice. It is actually an active decision where you’re committing to not doing the other thing.  Doing nothing is simply the void of doing something, which is pretty difficult to do since we’re always doing something.  Maybe I thought about this too much.

~See Lemons Just Do it