hen I was on my vacation trip in Mexico, on the beautiful beach of Tulum, I came up with an idea to write a blog post about productivity. I wanted to share my experience and thoughts about staying productive while being in such a different environment.
I wrote the draft, analysed the difference, and discovered several insights on productivity and habit building. Then, something very curious happened.
**I asked myself, why do I always need to chase productivity?**
If I set a goal that I want to achieve, isn’t it natural to be motivated and, as a result, productive?
I realized that for decades I’d chased productivity but never really owned it.
I set goals to change my life.
I built habits to be productive.
I built an operating system to propell my projects forward.
Yet, after so many years of effort, I still had to push myself. I still had to motivate myself. And I still had to make my days “productive”.
I felt something was wrong. Why would I need to motivate myself to reach the goals that I set? Why don’t I feel motivated? Why do I chase productivity?
There’s answer to each one of those questions. And once I found the answers and understood them, the problem disappeared once and for all.
So what was the answers?
To answer, let’s examine what is the productivity first.
Everything in this world is cause and effect. Productivity is an effect of a certain cause. To cause the effect, one must look into the cause, but not the effect. Here lies the problem. Everyone chases the effect. Why? Because the effect gives pleasure.
When one wastes their life, it creates misery. To escape the misery, one looks for pleasure. Chasing productivity creates pleasure. However, the pleasure is temporary. Therefore, once the pleasure wanes, one seeks for more pleasure. Thus, it’s an endless pleasure chase.
Let’s examine what is the cause of productivity.
The natural cause of true performance is a sincere desire. When the desire is sincere, motivation and performance are natural side effects. When the desire is sincere, one does not need to motivate themselves. The motivation occurs naturally.
So when someone chases productivity, it’s only an attempt to make them feel good about themselves. The desire is not sincere. And the person is not serious about the goal. The truth is that they are okay for not attaining it. And it’s actually not about the goal at all. It’s all about feeling good. It’s all about the pleasure.
I chased productivity because I wasted my life. I was on the wrong path. That’s why I procrastinated for the last 20 years. It gave me misery. Therefore, I chased productivity to feel good and to not feel like my life is a total waste.
On some days I would substitute the pleasure of “feeling good about myself” with the pleasure of procrastinating. The next day I would feel bad about procrastinating and the chase for produtivity would flare up again. An endless cycle.
What is the problem with an effect chase? Well, because it’s endless.
If the chase at some point satisfied me, I would be fine with it. However, it’s a never ending story. I would die an old man and still chasing it. Because the only thing it brings is temporary pleasure while the cause is sitting there unattended and unexamined.
The understanding of the nature of performance allowed me to abandon the chase. I saw that ever lasting satisfaction is not there.
As a natural side effect of abandoning the chase, the anxiety of not being productive left as well. Since the anxiety had no cause, my mind produced less involuntary thoughts and I felt more glimpses of no-mind state — the state when the true performance arises.