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Doing Nothing Is Hard

I’m a fan of setting long term big goals.

I set them pretty often.

In the process of working towards those goals, there are “lulls”— moments where nothing is actively happening.


If my goal is to ship a product, then it’s the moments when I’m not actively typing on a keyboard writing code or marketing copy.

Or if it’s making money, then it’s the moments when I’m not talking to customers or recieving payments.

Or if it’s a life goal (like generation wealth), then it’s not having the wealth already at this very moment.

Lulls make me anxious

Bart Simpson being anxious

During these lulls, there’s this feeling that I should be doing something - anything - to get me closer to my goal.

I forget that I already have a plan in motion— a system in place.

I get anxious.

  • “Do I have enough time?”
  • “Shouldn’t I be working right now?”
  • “Why isn’t everything happening for me right now?”

Thankfully, after much self-reflection, in the case of goal-anxiety, I’ve found that doing nothing is the best option.

Inaction is better than spastic action

It’s hard not to be impatient when you’re chasing a goal.

For me, if I don’t see results then sometimes I get panicky and anxious as to whether I’m actually doing the right thing(s) to get there.

But then, I take a minute to breathe and step back. And remember that the plan is in motion and I should be patient and allow it to play out.


  • If it’s 9pm, and it’s okay to just watch Netflix and not be writing code.
  • If I’m in the process of closing a deal, and it’s a Sunday afternoon, just wait until Monday to follow up.

Action for the sake of action can often lead to messing up your progress towards that goal.

It might make you feel good in the moment, but it can have detrimental second-order effects.


  • If you send a follow up email on a Sunday, that signals you’re desperate, inconsiderate, and probably not worth working with. And it could cost you a deal.
  • If you decided to stay up late to code, then you end up tired the next day. If done consistently then you end up burnt out.

Sometimes, it’s better to just do nothing at all.


One aphorism I constantly go back to is a saying by Naval Ravikant.

Impatience with actions, patience with results.