A guy on Twitter asked a pretty good question the other day: "Why do you worship productivity so much? Honestly? (I am currently sitting at a ski hill with an ear-to-ear grin from powder turns.)" I gave him an answer, but I think the question deserves an answer longer than one hundred forty characters.
Something I've been circling around a lot recently is the idea that my own experience doesn't really matter so much. Happiness follows the law of diminishing returns, and I'm so happy all the time that making myself more happy is pretty useless. I've had so much fun and had such a breadth of experiences, that, for the most part, I feel like having one additional one is insignificant.
I'm an imperfect human, of course, so I do still do things "just because I want to" sometimes, but when I take a step back, look at the arc of my life, and think about the time I have left, I mostly think about ways that I can impact the world. If I can spend some effort and make someone who's not so happy a little bit happier, help someone who hasn't had so many cool experiences have a few, or help someone become more productive themselves, maybe that's a better use of my time.
None of that means that I think I'm some sort of great person. I'm completely aware that probably a lot of my real motivation stems from ego or from wanting the satisfaction of knowing that I had an impact on people. I get emails sometimes from people who tell me I've changed their lives, and that sort of blows me away every time and makes me feel really good.
Still, if I can do something that helps other people and is good for me, why not spend my time there?
My way of doing that is through productivity. The reason I can get so excited about productivity is because I genuinely believe that what I'm doing benefits others. I know how much I've benefited from having this blog, and many people have told me that my writing has had a big impact on them as well. Sett is our attempt to help other people access those same benefits. That's why we focus on getting bloggers more readers and building a deeper level of community.
General productivity is the multiplier through which we impact the world. If I can handle email faster, that gives me more time to code. If I can stay disciplined, I spend less time on Facebook or Reddit, and more time writing. High levels of productivity are also difficult to achieve and even more difficult to sustain, and I think that I really like the challenge of doing hard things.
So why do I worship productivity? Because at this point it's the tool that gives me maximum leverage on my goals. I know that we all have different goals, and that for a different set of goals productivity might be useless, but for where I'm at now, it makes a lot of sense.
Photo is a guy sitting at West Lake in Hang Zhou, China.
I'm getting a lot of questions about the 2013 Gear Post. Yes, it's coming. I added a few things last minute and I'm waiting for the last one to clear customs. It's going to be a good one with some gear I guarantee no one's heard of...
Anyone notice the changes to Sett? Biggest one is that there is no more up/downvoting, just a heart to like things...
New Year's eve is approaching, which means that people are making their New Years' resolutions and asking me what mine are. I don't have any, and I think that's a good thing.
The problem with New Years Resolutions is that they're not motivated by a burning desire to change. Wee all know that most people don't really change, and we know how hard it is for us to change ourselves. The only fuel powerful enough to push through that pain period is the burning desire for results. New Year's resolutions don't have that burning desire. Instead we realize it's a new year, get the fluffy feeling that a fresh start is upon us, and then scramble to make up New Year's resolutions. That method of change is about as effective as the US' "war on drugs" is against drug addiction.
How motivated can you possibly be if you're willing to wait until the ball drops before taking action? Not very. I have a friend who is capable of, and has executed on many occasions, 180 degree life changes. On a normal day if he told me he was going to do something difficult, I'd have full faith in him. But he recently picked up smoking and told me he's quitting for New Year's. I bet he won't. Quitting cigarettes requires a fundamental hatred for the effects smoking has on your body and life. Anything less is a break from smoking. If he had that harsh emotion, he wouldn't be smoking today.
INTERNAL SCORECARD #7
This is the seventh internal scorecard I've posted. I put these up as a way for you to see what production and productivity actually look like (with the up's and down's, and so on), and as a measure for myself of what's happening and what's to come.
This covers 30 June to 6 July.
DALIO OF THE WEEK
"Goals are the things that you really want to achieve, while desires are things you want that can prevent you from reaching your goals—as I previously explained, desires are typically first-order consequences. For example, a goal might be physical fitness, while a desire is the urge to eat good-tasting, unhealthy food (i.e., a first-order consequence) that could undermine you obtaining your fitness goal. So, in terms of the consequences they produce, goals are good and desires are bad." -- Ray Dalio, Principles, p27