A few weeks ago I encountered the following quote that made me chuckle:
It’s meant to be a joke, of course, but aside from appreciating the play on words, I liked the suggestion that doing nothing – from time to time – isn’t a bad idea. It’s an add-on to the wisdom we’ve picked up at our house from Lionel Hardcastle: doing very little, slowly!
I will admit to having been an A.A. Milne fan since I was a small child, having been brought up on not only the Winnie the Pooh stories but also Milne’s marvelous books of children’s poems, such as Now We Are Six and When We Were Very Young. Who wouldn’t be captivated by lines like, “Hush, hush, whisper who dares, Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.” So I was curious as to which beloved character in A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh series may have said this; it didn’t really ring true for any of them. You can guess what I did next, I googled the quote to find its source. If you follow all the resulting links for completeness it turns out that it wasn’t Winnie the Pooh or Piglet, and it wasn’t Eeyore or Tigger. It is attributed to A.A. Milne and also to Winnie the Pooh in several instances. But, in fact, nobody can find a verified attribution for A.A. Milne, and the quote/joke or something very similar may have been floating around since 1906!
However, fellow lovers of A.A. Milne’s utterly charming children’s stories and poems, infused with love and nuggets of wisdom, will be pleased to know that advice on doing nothing can indeed be found in Winnie the Pooh.
In the first Winnie the Pooh book, back nearly 100 years in 1926, Winnie the Pooh asks Christopher Robin how it is possible to do nothing. Christopher Robin’s reply: “Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” Think about it. Just go along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering (about anything else). Is that sound advice or what?!
In the 2018 Winnie the Pooh movie by Disney, Pooh is clearly building on Christopher Robin’s earlier advice when he says, “Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.” Pooh learned well.
It isn’t just bears of little brain who understand the value of slowing down, of doing nothing. A cartoon recently forwarded to me by the nice blogger at Endless Weekend demonstrates the value of doing nothing, or at least doing very little, slowly. Some animals clearly understand this philosophical approach to life better than others!
I hope each of you will take heart from Christopher Robin’s and Winnie the Pooh’s excellent advice and give yourself the gift of doing nothing. At least from time to time. Put down your to-do lists just for a bit and see if doing nothing may lead to the very best of something.