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Productivity and Success

Busy is a drug many are addicted to. When we don't follow the plans we made, we easily shame ourselves for not being productive "enough". But what if we reconsidered what productivity and success really mean?

Today, I woke up and screwed the plans my mind had so nicely laid out last night. A walk in the park, fresh air, the richness of green is what I craved. The effort of getting myself into a structure unnatural to my heart, again, doesn’t get me far.

Many of us are driven by the fear of not “getting enough done”. But how do we define “productivity” is the question. Yesterday night having dinner with a friend, we both shared how we felt, how the day went. And in that conversation, my inner conversation opened a door for me. If I considered “success” from a different angle, wasn’t my day successful and productive?
I did not sit down and continue writing my book. I did not make that call. I did not finish the business proposal. I did not follow my list of Monday’s duties. Yet, I wrote a letter to a friend abroad and I listened to what’s on my partner’s heart. I made peace with yesterday and enjoyed the light in the blue sky. I took care of myself and my mother by making fresh, nourishing food. I watered the plants. In the midst of an argument, I looked at myself honestly and admitted that I, too, cause pain with my actions. I voiced my needs, and hurting wounds, but I also had the strength to forgive and look ahead. I was kind to strangers. I reached out to lend a helping hand. I wrote a blog entry. I made space for music, cooking, and writing, all of which are my creative outlets. I inspired someone by sharing my inspiration.

Now tell me, isn’t this success? Can we redefine productivity? Maybe it is simply overcoming the undoable task in many ways. Having the courage to find our voice. To adapt to changing conditions. To be kind and mindful. Maybe that is all we need to know it’s of value. When I see how my mother’s life has improved through my support, when I show up, when I listen, when I help, when my actions inspire someone else, that’s my work. That is my strength. For it makes the world just a little bit better, one person at a time. I think that’s a definition of success and productivity I can live with. 

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    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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