I wrote a couple of days ago that “The mind never stops working”. It got me thinking that, in my career as a therapist, I have often met bright, intelligent people with active and creative minds who were troubled in some way (as a side-note I should say that most people are bright and intelligent and many are under-estimated by themselves and others).
I have come to believe that – since the mind never stops working – an under-used mind can cause a lot of problems. The mind needs challenges, if it is left to get bored it’ll make mischief. The solution to much unhappiness, therefore, is industry (to use old-fashioned language).
There’s nothing new in this idea; there are plenty of sayings and aphorisms about the wisdom of keeping busy. The great philisopher Friedrich Nietzsche – no slouch himself when it came to not doing much – called idleness “the parent of psychology”.
While keeping busy certainly helps mental balance, I think that’s too simple to be a complete solution. Keeping oneself busy only goes so far; to be usefully employed the mind needs challenges, problems to solve and things that lead to a sense of accomplishment and self-recognition.
So bewareI! They say “The devil makes finds work for idle hands”, if your mind is under-employed, he’ll get in there too.*
*I’m following convention here, not ascribing gender to the devil. In fact, there are plenty of pundits who think that she is a woman. Google it if you want more info.