Study to be quiet, that is, to dismiss all bustle and worry out of your inward life. Study also to do your own business and do not try to do the business of other people. A great deal of fleshly activity is expended in trying to do other people’s business. It is often very hard to sit still when we see our friends mismanaging matters, according to our ideas, and making dreadful blunders. But the divine order, the best human order, is for each of us to do our own business and to refrain from meddling with the business of anyone else.-Hannah Whitall Smith
Sit still and mind your own business–these are words that we would expect from a parent when we’re quite young, aren’t they? But in many ways, they are words that if we can heed them, can help us to live our lives in a much more pleasing way, that can help us to be much more content and our lives to be much more fulfilling.
I have to fight to sit still. I always want to be doing something, always want to be active. But the times when I force myself to sit still and relax, the times when I take the time to allow my body and brain to take a break from their perpetual activity, are the times when I can find peace when I can feel the beauty of peace and quiet. After a few minutes of sitting still and being quiet, I start to see the world in a much different way–in effect, it’s only then that I actually start to see the world at all. In my busy, hurried times, I see very little at all. And as time goes on and I work at it more, that peace is with me more and more, and I don’t have to work so hard to find it.
Likewise, the less I concern myself with trying to help others avoid their mistakes and blunders, the more peace I also feel. Trying to mind other people’s business is a tremendous misuse of my energy–their lives aren’t under my control, so why should I try to control their actions, no matter what I feel about what they should be doing? Their lives are their lives, and my life is much more fulfilling if I don’t interfere in their personal learning experiences. If they ask for help, I’ll be there, but unless they do so, what they do truly is none of my business.
Sit still and mind your own business–these aren’t words for children who are misbehaving, but words that can change our lives for the better, if only we would heed them.
Questions to consider:
How easy is it for you to sit still and enjoy the silence and the peace of inactivity?
Do you spend much time worrying about what others are doing, and whether they may be making mistakes that could be avoided?
Have you learned more from making mistakes, or from doing things right the first time? If we help people always to avoid mistakes, what happens to their personal learning experiences?
For further thought: