My days used to be mostly dominated by an obsession, sometimes unhealthy, for productivity. Quantifying every minute of my waking self, punishing myself when I'm not following the todo-list or the calendar, and shaming myself into doing longer hours and not taking breaks. Pressure to perform in the purest form.
The tools that are supposed to be just tools, are weaponized into chains.
This has been easing for a while. It's still present. There's still a dictatorial side of me that wants to control my behavior by force. I've been learning that this guy isn't of the greatest help, no matter how good his intentions are.
Using force feels almost natural when you have an expectation of where/who you should be vs. where/who you are. It's easy to create a self-imposed pressure on taking a giant leap, here, today, by pushing harder and harder to go where we want to be. But if you've been through enough cycles of this, you know how it ends.
Instead of moving with force, we can move with power. Having self-compassion for our shortcomings, making our days more enjoyable, and seeking to make important daily activities more effortless are the way to go.
Consistency always beats its competitors, because it can improve on itself, bit by bit.
I don't want to live a life of constant self-imposed pressure, expectations, and pointless stress. If I don't accept that others bring such in my life, why should I accept imposing those very same things on myself?
The real thing I've been striving for is mental clarity. How to be one with all the different voices that live in my head. How to conciliate opposing thoughts into marching together in the same direction. How to drop as many biases as I can when looking at situations, when planning my life and days. How to cultivate my attention with intention. The art of getting out of the way of our own brains.
Productivity, I bet, comes as a consequence of a healthy and aligned mind, loaded with hand-picked values and beliefs, interacting as clear as possible with its environment.
Buying in the self-imposed expectations and channeling all the stress from it to "push harder", without questioning the values and beliefs that compose our life, the things that are truly important to us, is asking to be led on a wild goose chase, spinning the wheel of survivorship bias.
There must be a time when to use force, to charge, but that must come after we understand the north stars we should follow, the things to optimize for. Otherwise, we might be charging just the opposite way of where we intend to go.
If anything, 2021 so far has taught me that a serene, open and honest mind, along with a sane body, makes for much better gear to deal with life than (re)acting on the "shoulds", "musts" and "have-tos" we tell ourselves.
Take care of your brain and body, and they will take care of you along the journey.