The Value of Being Useless Sometimes – Day 228 of 365 Days to a Better You

Hi, my name is Ray and I’ve been pretty useless today. What could have been done, I haven’t done. I’ve relaxed, regrouped, and caught up on some of my favorite YouTube channels.

I let go of my drive to be the rushing river pushing the process forward today. I chose, instead, to be the leaf aimlessly floating down the river, but still going where the river’s going.

The ancient Taoist teacher Chuang Tzu once encouraged a student to be like a twisted, gnarly, “stinktree.”

The student scoffed at the idea. “That tree is twisted, ugly, and useless,” argued the student.

“Yes,” replied Chuang. “A carpenter could not get straight planks from it. So, he leaves it alone. The knots in the tree would make a leaky boat. So, the boat maker leaves it alone. Its wood does not burn sweet like apple or cherry and its sap pops and explodes in the fire. So, no one considers it for firewood. That tree will live a long and happy life specifically because it is useless to the world.”

There’s a time to push and race to the finish line. There’s also a time to be useless and thus extend your usefulness. The alternative is to burn hot and fast and explode in a supernova of exhaustion. Slow and steady wins the race and some days it’s OK to just pause the race.

In case no one else reminded you today, you’re AMAZING!


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