Online communities have these fun little unintentional trends, like for a while, you just had this concentrated uptick of people posting about shadow work, and then it was the depth year, and although this post is coming at the tail end, the concept of work productivity and personal validation through productivity has been a recurring topic of discussion.
If you’re not subscribed to Thorn Mooney on YouTube, then check out this video she posted on Productivity, Work, and Divine Will. Headology and the Witch also posted on the subject, Funks, Reward & The Cult of Productivity. And then not too long ago, I posted a walk-through of a weekday in my life, which was also an implied commentary on productivity.
A remark I receive on repeat– and this has been recurring throughout my life, since my adolescent years among high school peers– is how productive I appear to be. What’s my secret? Do I have more hours in the day than everybody else? Should I be patenting a business method for my secret sauce to productivity? No, really, what is it that keeps my engines going?
We can break it down to focus, discipline, the number of hours I sleep, how I schedule my days and nights, eating healthy so I have more energy, meditating so I have more energy, how I don’t have kids, which basically implies I’ve got a wealth of time and disposable income– all the nitty gritty, but what’s the real reason for the productivity?
I mean, if you really want to break it down, every form of greatness and high achievement is the product of mental or emotional imbalance.
You don’t get to be great without suffering from some significant level of mental imbalance. It’s as simple as the old trope that high school losers will all end up running the multi-billion dollar corporations of the world, because they’ve got some chip on their shoulders so they overcompensate and shoot for the stars. Nobel Prize winners wreck their personal lives and surrender to the impulses of obsession. That’s how they win the Nobel Prize.
High-octane productivity isn’t normal. Your spirit isn’t built for that. As a society, we’re so enamored with achievement and genius that we forget to check the price tag.
As a collective, we want to encourage work productivity. The propaganda of how productive people are better people is ultimately good for society, benefits the movement of progress, but it is not necessarily good for the individual.
Productivity is a form of self-sacrifice and we’re even programmed to believe that it’s just a form of delayed gratification that in the end will serve ourselves, but I question if that’s true. It serves those around you who reap the fruits of your productivity, but does it actually serve you?
On the other hand, it just may be necessary–this mode of self-sacrifice through strenuous personal productivity–to achieve one’s Great Work, to transcend physical and material limitations. Giving and giving and sacrificing of yourself eradicates the Self, the pesky ego, and merges you closer with the collective, which united, is Divinity, and so self-sacrifice takes you closer to Divinity. It’s integral to the Great Work, maybe?
That leads me to ask: is it in one’s self-interest to achieve the Great Work?