Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Struggle Between Productivity and Being

There is a certain mindset that comes with being productive. You are focused. You are in the zone. This is a different experience than just being. The two are in constant flux throughout the day.

We somewhat worship productivity. There is good reason for this. At the end of the day, you can look back and see the trail of everything you have accomplished. For some of us, there is a physical manifestation of our work; for some of us it could be a checklist of things.

The down side of productivity is that it requires discipline. You must harden yourself against the extraneous distractions the day throws your way. Stopping to smell the roses is all you need to throw you off your groove.

And, so productivity can preclude any opportunity to simply be, to exist. While you can live very well without smelling roses, along with that are other pleasant experiences, such as spending time with your loved ones and truly being present in mind, not just body.

The productivity mindset can cause you to be physically present, but mentally distant. Spending time with those for whom you strive becomes another item on the list.

But this is not all one-sided. We need to be productive. We need to create, to accomplish. We need to express what we are meant to do with our lives through our work. It is what gives us satisfaction and meaning.

Yet, we must be careful to keep that drive in check. Not everything in our lives must be controlled. Not everything can be controlled. Some things can only be enjoyed as they are. Some things we can only enjoy simply by being, rather than doing.

We must learn to be able to switch between both mindsets and be aware of the choice. Be deliberate in when we drive and when we simply are.

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