So often we hear about “being” rather than “doing.” Often it’s given as advice when we are overwhelmed, overworked and overstressed. “You should just ‘be.’ You’re doing too much.” Well, yes, obviously, but what does that MEAN? How do we just be?

I happen to think the people saying this don’t even really know what it means and are just giving it as a platitude, trying to help, but it doesn’t help if you don’t know how to implement it.

Here are some ways in which being is different from doing.

Hearing vs. Listening

If I really “hear” you, I understand what you’re saying and, more importantly, what you’re not saying. I grasp the full import of your words and silences. I’m not just listening with one ear. I’m really getting you.

Learning vs. Studying

I can study all day long, but if at the end of the day all I really know is what’s going to be on the test, it doesn’t do me much good. Learning is about absorbing what’s being taught. Once I’ve learned something, I don’t need to study it the next time.

Coming to Believe vs. Deciding

Decisions can be arrived at two ways—by coming to believe this is the right course, or by “deciding” this is the right course. You’ve heard the term “executive decision.” Often that means I’ve just decided something without reference to any outside sources or even to what I really think. By coming to believe something, I’ve made an authentic, informed decision.

Realizing vs. Jumping to Conclusions

It’s easy to “jump to conclusions” and just know something is true. Really knowing it’s true, from a centered, authentic place in your heart and not just in your head, is more difficult. It’s also the best way to reach the truth.

Being Effective vs. Being Efficient

Being effective means getting the right things done in the right way. Being efficient means getting the most things done in the least time. Obviously there is some advantage to getting things done in less time, but it’s absolutely crucial that this should be done in the most EFFECTIVE way.

As you can see, Being vs. Doing is actually about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Initially it might sound like just sitting around, but it’s a very active process.