the pivotal moments of do nothing

Aici lo tems s’en , va res l’Eternitat.”

<here, in this place, time moves away toward eternity>


“The first to do nothing, when a situation demands nothing, often gets everything.”

Bruce McTague


In this place time moves away toward eternity, in other words, pivotal moments. Pivotal moments actually have multidimensional dynamics:

  • Moments in which a decision is made, a choice arrived at, and life moves away from that time, place and choice toward eternity
  • Moments in which one realizes that all things occur in their own time and you do, well, nothing.

Today I am discussing the second – moments in which we decide to do nothing. I would argue that these can represent an equal amount of ‘pivotal’ moments as the ones in which we actually decide to do something. That said. That belief needs some context. In today’s world everything is urgent, a crisis or a life directional decision. And that is a false narrative. We make thousands of decisions and choices daily. More often than not decision #133 subjugates decision #27 to the scrap heap. It is because of this, more often than not, we make any decision we can, when we can, and move on. It’s not because we are lazy or because we are thoughtless, but experience tells us that on most choices another choice will arise in which we can correct whatever we may have got wrong in some past choice.

That is a basic understanding of consequences of choice.

And, more often than not, that is a Life truth.

I would suggest this basic understanding partially drives how most of us await choices and decisions rather than proactively seek out ones to make. We assume choices have a mind of their own and will, well, all things in their own time.

The challenge with this approach is that doing nothing is also a choice. And it is actually an active choice. I say that because many times doing nothing can be the correct action. Doing nothing actually permits the arc of things that are actually happening to pivot unimpeded by some unnecessary action. I will suggest doing nothing is actually an art. I say that because being an effective ‘do nothing’ person is dependent upon an ability to see patterns and see direction and see possibilities (tied to probabilities).

Of course, rather than doing nothing there is doing something, i.e., the moments to push a decision and choice into the moment. And, yes, I purposefully used “push.” These are the choices and decisions which time moves away toward eternity. These are the choices which you push because you want it to get started and gain momentum toward eternity – not just lollygag its way toward eternity.


We don’t have many of those. While we reflect back on Life we may think we see more than there really are, but in truth while all choices & decisions move away toward eternity only some truly have consequences on eternity. In other words, there are fewer pivotal moments than we perceive.

It is difficult to know when and where to push. Just as it is difficult to know when and where to do nothing.

Moments don’t come with directions and choices & decisions don’t come in certain packages so you can recognize them for what they are.

Which leads me to I sometimes worry that we have created a world, certainly a business world, which is increasingly hasty and we are conditioning everyone to not only demand an answer <even if no answer is called for> and, maybe worse, even to grab the first answer that comes along.

We certainly are not teaching to any extent that do nothing can ultimately give you everything.

We certainly are not teaching to any extent that not all do something moments are created equal and that the immediate consequence is not always a reflection of the ultimate consequence.


“The ability to convert ideas to things is the secret of outward success.”

Henry Ward Beecher


We are certainly not teaching to any extent that you always have the freedom to create because moments are inherently of, and about, freedom.

Ah. Create from freedom.

Sometimes that can seem like creating something from nothing. Freedom encourages ideas and thinking but then … uh oh … Life kind of demands you convert your access to freedom into ‘something.’ It is within that ‘demand from Life’ where most people abuse freedom — people choose not to choose.

Now. We do this all the time – choose not to choose. Oddly enough, a shitload of people think this is actually exercising your freedom. Go figure. Not doing something is an expression of freedom. Now. there is certainly some truth in this but it kind of ignores my earlier point – doing nothing is actually active. Sure. Using the overall excuse of “I am too busy” choosing not to choose can often seem to be the best choice because it can sometimes appear to then free us up to do something else. Personally I call bullshit on this type of thinking. Freedom kind of has two levers or maybe an “on/off” switch … opt in or opt out. Either use your freedom or don’t use it. You either value your choice or you don’t. There really isn’t a lot of room in-between. And, yeah, people will argue with me on this, but I am stating it this way because while freedom can far too often look abstract, in reality, in practice, it is anything but abstract. Doing, action, is at the core of freedom itself. So, once again, doing nothing is an active choice. It is not abstract nor is it passive; it is active participation in an active, dynamic, world.

Which leads me to what I know: It is how you use your choice to do nothing that matters; not the fact you do nothing.

It can feel overwhelming to admit to yourself that you have a personal responsibility for any and all of the thousands of choices & decisions you make every day and the ones you choose to do nothing. But each and every one of us do have that responsibility. And I say that because if you accept the responsibility you have significantly increased your odds to not only do nothing in the pivotal moments which you could gain everything, but also increase your odds to identify the true moments in which what you do or say will move on toward eternity. Ponder.

Written by Bruce