being busy: the elevator phenomenon


I read somewhere once, an everyday phenomenon that made me smile in resonance: if you look closely at elevators, have you noticed that usually the “close” button is faded more than the “open” button? So lets assume a logical deduction that the “close” button is therefore used more in general – and why?

Surely we have all been there before, we get into an elevator, press the button for our floor, and the door stands ajared, so we fervently tap the “close” button multiple times on reflex until the machine decides to move and sends us up or down to wherever we want to go.

And then there are the times when we see someone running towards the elevator we are in, trying to slip in before the door closes, and so many times we frantically reach for the “close” button again and make sure the door shuts so we don’t have to wait an extra second for that person. Smug smile when mission accomplished. Guilty as charged.

What are we in a hurry for? Does saving that extra bit of time by making the door close sooner make such a big difference in our lives?

I doubt we are all actually so busy that we can’t wait one more moment. This reminds me of an article my friend sent me on the New York Times back in February about being busy all the time, and whether not working actually increases the amount of free time we have. Apparently not, for whilst we are not rushing to work, we rush around to do other things.



Is it to feel useful, to feel needed? What is so significant in that errands list that we can’t slow down, wait for the other person?

We overload ourselves, with events, meetings, appointments, social media updates, and so on and so forth.

We feel guilty to have free time, to simply sit and breathe.

Just try pressing “Open” for once – it actually makes you feel better, more in grasp of your life, and has a amazing calming effect.

Take the time to smell the flowers on the wayside.





2 Responses

  1. It’s true, I hardly ever just sit and do nothing.

    • nochnoch says:

      it’s a tough skill to learn. i still feel guilty to this day if i was just sitting – i’d think “crap, i should write another blog post”. so a new habit i’m learning to form too!

about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) was born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Social Entrepreneur and founded BEARAPY to help corporates make workplaces mentally healthy, and support executives to become more resilient.