Here's how to avoid the productivity trap and myth of success
Let’s face it: we live in a “hustle hard” culture and it’s clearly not working.
After all, how many times have you seen inhuman expectations, a lack of boundaries, and compromised values glorified in the name of “productivity” and “success,” only for so many people to end their day feeling empty, unfulfilled, and like they're wasting their life away?
This is even more apparent now that it's literally taken a pandemic for some of us to press "pause" on the things we used to think couldn't be paused... and some people STILL think this is the time when they should be changing the course of human history (take a look at this quick screen grab from Twitter to see what I mean):
Now look, I'm all for making the most of things, but this comparison of one activity over the other as if you can't do both—or even neither if that's what you wanted—is a little much.
When will enough be enough?
How do we make the most of the life we’ve been gifted, even when—especially when—it seems like everything is designed for us to just show up, occupy a space, play our roles, and leave some type of "product" behind?
Over the next few days and weeks there's going to be more and more conversations about how you "quantify" your time during your shelter-in-place/stay-at-home/quarantine.
You might even find yourself feeling guilty for not doing "enough" (or have other people try to place their own guilt on you).
Here's how I avoid the productivity trap and the myth of success:
I remain committed to identifying, understanding, and living out who I am, regardless of what goes on around me and what other people believe I "could" or "should" be focusing on and doing.
In short, I live for my obituary to ensure that I really live.
What about you?
If your time came to an end right now, what would people remember the most about you?
What would you want them to remember?
Would it be that you fit into every box someone put in front of you, almost as if by magic (when in reality the only way you really fit was by shrinking and stretching yourself over and over again until you were no longer recognizable) or that you stayed on the sidelines while the world around you moved forward (because you would rather count yourself out than be counted out by someone else)?
Or would it—to borrow from Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter—be that you were here, you lived, and you loved as you wanted?
Just think—wouldn't it be great if you were able to:
stop going through the motions,
stop discounting your experience,
stop spending your precious time and energy on things you don’t even care about, and
stop letting fear and doubt hold you back
How do you get to that point?
By being honest about what you want and why you want it.
It takes time and it's an ongoing practice, but if you're going to be using your time, energy, and other resources on anything, shouldn't it be on things you actually care about and things that actually benefits you?
If you find yourself feeling guilty or overwhelmed by all the things you "should" be doing, I challenge you to ask yourself this simple question:
Do I want this to show up in my obituary in any shape or form?
If yes, then it's likely something that will impact your life in a way that you care about.
If no, then it's not.
Try this out and let me know how it goes.