The Art and Science of Minding Your Own Business

Sand castle

“There are only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s.” ~ Byron Katie

Do you think you’re responsible for the universe? Or do you stick to your own business?

Where do you draw the line between your business and other people’s business?

If we suffer, it’s usually because we’re in somebody else’s business, not minding our own life and choices.

We try to give advice, dictate how things should (or shouldn’t) be, and complain when things don’t work out.

We feel anxious, stressed, disappointed, and discouraged.

Other people can do the same thing to you, sticking their nose in your business. How does that make you feel?

When you walk around with the weight of the world on your shoulders, you won’t be able to focus on yourself. Instead you’re focused outwardly, looking for ways to fix the planet.

The world can include your spouse/partner, kids, coworkers, neighbors, your countrymen, politics, the environment, and an endless barrage of causes for concern.

The thing is: when we are not focused internally, minding our own business, making sure that we’re following our own advice and living our lives truthfully, we won’t be able to help others. We’re doing the world and ourselves a disservice.

If you want to end your suffering of wanting to change things outside of your control, look within to see why you do it in the first place.

Why do we get into other people’s business?

Interfering in other people’s business can be so ingrained that we do it subconsciously most of the times. If it’s not an action, it’s with words or thoughts. We can’t wait for the person to finish so we can jump in with our advice.

The underlying reasons behind our behavior are usually one (or a combination) of the following.

Knowing better

We feel qualified to give advice. We know better than the other person. We can guide them in changing their behavior and doing things the way we see fit—for them.

Rigid expectations

We have a view of how things should be and expect everyone to comply with such a view. We feel the need to tell others how to act or what to do in order to comply with “what should be”.

An amplified sense of responsibility

We take it upon ourselves to feel responsible for everybody’s business. We will feel guilty if we don’t get involved. The flip side of this is: we don’t trust that others are capable of taking care of their own business.

Think about the times you got involved and offered unsolicited advice or help. Why did you do it? What can you learn from it?

The art of minding your own business

Knowing when to get involved in other people’s business (or not) is an art.

When it’s a matter of life and death, the action required is pretty clear. For example if someone is drowning, you will either try to save them or you’ll get help. But if someone is talking about a painful breakup or a challenge at work, you don’t necessarily need to butt in.

The art of minding your business involves:

Using your intuition

You focus internally on your own life and your own business. If a friend needs a compassionate ear, you listen intently, without showering her with advice.

Most of the time it will be about you offering sympathy, compassion and understanding rather than judgment, advice and opinions.

Neutralizing thoughts and actions

To know the parameters of your own business and to stick to them is an art. It takes practice to master the skill. It’s not easy to not offer advice or act on behalf of others.

It’s even harder to quiet the mind in a way that you stop thinking interfering or judgmental thoughts. You stay in a neural state.

Letting others be

As you learn to be in your own business, you let others be in theirs. You trust that they’ll do what needs to be done in a way that serves them best. You feel responsible only for yourself and your actions without fear or guilt.

Within the art of being in your own business, there are a few straightforward guidelines to help you in interacting with others and your environment.

The science of minding your own business

The following guidelines can be applied in most situations.

Don’t offer advice unless you’re specifically asked for it. You’re not obligated, nor expected to chime in.

Offer your help or advice with no strings attached. If you have expectations, take a step back and try to neutralize your thoughts about the situation. Help only from a place of love and compassion, not guilt or expectation.

Remove yourself from situations where you need to take sides and the situation doesn’t involve you, or could potentially damage a relationship. You won’t do others a favor by getting in their business. Let them sort it out and if they need your help, trust that they’ll ask for it.

When you mind your business you will feel lighter; you’re not in charge of the universe. You’re more at peace. You are responsible for your life and free from expectations and disappointments.

Start today by focusing on your own needs and business. Trust that others and the universe will take care of their business. The more you trust and focus inwardly, the more things start falling into place, the way they’re meant to be.