I spend a lot of time researching and utilizing various productivity tools. Tools for processing email faster, keeping track of actions, helping me focus on the most important projects, better leveraging the limited hours in the day, and all those sorts of things.
Each time I discover a new tool or put an improved process in place, my productivity soars!
For about a week.
And then it slips back to whatever baseline that had existed.
Was it that the tool wasn’t as good as it first appeared? Or that I hit some unexpected roadblock which this new process couldn’t handle?
No and no.
It’s that sad truth that no tool, no process can “make” me more productive. Sure, something might inspire me for a bit (perhaps akin to a caffeine hit), but eventually the “drug” wears off and what’s left is whatever level of productivity I’ve currently mastered (meaning, habituated).
The allure of finding the perfect tool keeps me looking in the wrong place to achieve the results I want.
If I want to be more productive, I simply need to produce more.
I can’t wait to be motivated by a new tool or a better process. It takes an inner commitment to grow, and then the day-in and day-out act of taking action.
In the case of writing these essays, if I waited until I was struck by inspiration to write, very few words would find the page.
It’s true, though, that I only write when I’m motivated.
It just so happens that I’m motivated every Sunday afternoon to write.
Meaning this: I’m not often flooded with inspiration when I sit down to compose an essay. It’s just that I’ve committed my life to show up each week prepared to have an essay flow through me. And that commitment to write – that act of showing up no matter what – is what allows the essays to come through each week.
But it’s so easy for us to defer taking action.
If I just wait for the perfect idea, then the essay will be better.
If my environment were a little less stressful, then I’d be able to get more things done.
If I had a more appreciative boss or supportive colleagues, then my work would be rewarding.
If my partner did more of the things I like and less of the things I don’t, then my life would be peaceful.
And so we spend our lives searching for better ideas, less stressful environments, more appreciative colleagues, and improved family relationships because we think that’s what will make us happy.
Yet the source of happiness has nothing to do with our surroundings or other people. Nor does it have anything to do with the functioning (or lack thereof) of our body. Just like the source of productivity has nothing to do with the tools we’re using.
The source of all happiness is found within.
But as long as we believe it is elsewhere, we’ll never find it. Although we’ll surely keep looking.
Don’t wait for something in the world or in other people to “bring” us the peace and joy we desire. Instead, let’s commit ourselves to quieting our mind and tapping into that incredible bliss within. No new tools or special processes are required. Just a little willingness to show up, pay attention, and receive what naturally flows through. The results are spectacular!
Join me in Monday’s class where we’ll explore the futility of looking for happiness where it’s not and instead learn how to commit ourselves to finding it where it is. I look forward to seeing you then.