The past is just a story we tell ourselves.
Productivity is a scam.
My entire life is a constant, never-ending struggle. I suspect this is the case for many. Scientifically speaking, we are hard-wired to be lazy. To survive while expending as little caloric energy as possible — to take the path of least resistance. To do otherwise is to try to violate the thermodynamic property of entropy, that is not an easy task.
There is universal safety and comfort in doing what’s easy, and what provides short-term happiness. In avoiding the difficult work that comes with resisting our natural lack of innate drive.
However, there’s something about this that is never talked about. That this is not black or white. It is not, as some might want you to believe, lazy vs. productive. There is complex nuance to this. There are varying degrees to the amount of pressure we can put on ourselves.
We can easily place ourselves in the illusion of doing work easily. We can work out instead of playing video games. We can practice an instrument instead of scrolling through memes. We can get a job instead of being unemployed.
The above may seem confusing, maybe even uncomfortable to think about. The conventional idea of productivity is that it’s directly connected with bettering ourselves. Whether that means creating something with value or improving ourselves somehow.
But the value of what we create is not inherent, it’s derived from a market. And when we improve ourselves, it’s through the lens of what’s conventionally more accepted or attractive within society. Perhaps we do this in an attempt to strive for acceptance or proving ourselves to others.
An attempt to find peace with who I am.
“These actions are not essentially difficult; it is we ourselves that are soft and flabby.” –Seneca
The Human Distillery
When you take a step back, the greatest of people in history are a distillery. The most talented and hard-working of people often produce only a handful (or even just one piece) of great work or events that are noteworthy. The rare and devoted few actually go through a great person’s minutiae–hundreds of thousands of small pieces that were completed daily to work towards that great work.
There is a deep conviction required for this. To spend hours per day working towards something bigger, something that might instead fail quietly. As well as the remarkable forethought to understand what needs to be worked on, and in what order.
Though, perhaps there isn’t such planning. Rather, these great works instead are conjured up organically by a repeating persistence and habitual work. Regardless, the conviction is still there.
For myself, personally, I find I’m only able to recognize a completed project in hindsight–I do not go about working on tasks with the plan being that there’s going to be a neat, finished-product once I’m done. This has only occurred a handful of times, anyways. Whether it’s my early photography, music, art, or this blog itself.
I don’t believe these projects are impressive or noteworthy by any means, but it’s nice to see that I’m able to accomplish something at all.
I’m getting older now–I just turned 24, hence this birthday post–and I cannot help but to feel a drive to do more, and to work harder, to be a noteworthy person. This is not motivated out of ego, as it sounds like, but rather a growing sense that I need to take my time and actions seriously.
Getting back on your horse, no matter how many times you’ve fallen off.
Project Journal Bar
In my last post, I talked about the struggles and failures I’ve faced the past few years. I’ve been thinking about how to tackle my short-comings and problems to solve a single, relatively-simple issue that’s plagued me nearly my entire life: consistency in my work ethic.
There needs to be more hand-holding involved — change does not come quickly nor simply. So I’ve devised an entirely new project for myself: Journal Bar. This is a new blog that I’ve made where I’m going to be posting about the progress I’ve been making weekly. The (very simple) ingenious part is that I’m tracking the posts I write.
So, this is a sort of meta-accountability experiment. Having a goal that’s in charge of making sure I keep on-track with all of my other goals. The idea behind this is so simple that I’m kicking myself for not thinking about it sooner.
This idea and the progress I’ve made is very new, but I feel as though I’m going slowly enough to ensure that I don’t fizzle out quickly and lose interest or energy for it. In addition to keeping track of my progress, I’ve also elected to use the blog as a space to write rough ideas that I’ll want to implement into articles later.
Going through the whole Beeminder process again opened my eyes to a few things that I believe will be helpful regarding perseverance with long-term results: