Don’t Disregard Kierkegaard’s Advice on Busyness

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The popular way of thinking is that your work life needs to always be busy. We all know at least one person who is always busy and looking productive. You might be one of those individuals who pride themselves on always working. Let’s rethink that.

A long dead Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, can help us rethink the value of always being busy.

How then might people escape busyness? Kierkegaard’s discussion of busyness in Works of Love may provide a clue. By contrast with the busy people who harvest repeatedly, the person who wills the good has no immediate gains to rest on. Their action—unlike that of the busy people—is in pursuit of something meaningful, even though they receive no apparent reward for it. However, there may be other benefits.  As recent psychological research also suggests, helping others can result in helping oneself. Pursuing particular goods—like striving to help the particular people you see, as Kierkegaard recommends elsewhere in Works of Love—might thus provide us with the specificity we need to escape indeterminacy and the phenomena like anxiety, boredom, and busyness that accompany it. 

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