The real problem is that somewhere along the way we managed to confuse accomplishment with happiness. Happiness started as the inspiration for achievement, but somehow things got reversed. Happiness became conditional. When being happy gets anchored in achievement, we can easily fall into the trap of projecting that happiness into the future. We put conditions on when we will allow ourselves to be happy. Being more productive is great. Getting more done in less time really is a good thing. But those are not legitimate reasons for missing out on happiness now.
There is no inherent conflict between being happy and being productive. Actually, the two go together very nicely. The only danger lies in getting out of balance and obsessing over productivity. There is a healthy sense of equilibrium between living in the present and planning for the future. We fall, when we lose our balance and allow the desire to accomplish more to become an obsession; when we allow ourselves to get so caught up in compulsive accomplishment that we forget who and what is really important to us right now. Make sure to take some time to enjoy your life in the present instead of waiting for someday, because all too often, someday never comes.
What is really behind our drive for increased productivity? Are we afraid we have no worth or value or worth if we are not productive?
The truth is our worth has nothing to do with how productive we are or how much money we earn! Believing that it does is a devastating point of view. If I earn $50 per hour and you earn $500, then I must be worth 90% less than you are. If I accept this premise, then I will probably develop some limiting beliefs about my worth as a person. If you agree with this value scale, then you will begin to think of yourself as superior. Both of these points of view are damaging to us as human beings and to our relationships.
Is the highly paid professional who earns a fortune pumping deadly toxins into the environment more valuable than a dedicated teacher who incites his students to reach for their dreams while maintaining personal integrity? Is the loving, nurturing mother who gave up her career to take care of her family and children, on the bottom of the value scale? Will our children understand why we could never be there for them because we think we are increasing our worth as a parent by working such long hours that we never get to see or spend time with them?
The value of money is tiny compared to the value of time. When we spend our valuable time we should view it as something that far exceeds the worth of money. Yes, it takes a certain amount of money to care for our material needs and wants, but that is just one, small aspect of life. Time is truly the currency of life. Our precious time is the real commodity of life. Recognizing its immense value helps us spend it wisely.
It’s not every day that you face your own mortality. One of the questions I’ve had to recently face is what happens to your life when you run out of time? We only have so much of this valuable commodity and when it’s gone all the money in the world can’t buy you more. When something like cancer brings knocks us to our knees, shredding apart our carefully planned lives, God is trying to get your attention to teach you that it’s not about the relentless striving but surrendering to Him, that He’s in control not you and honestly why would you want to be? My way certainly has not worked out so well up to this point. It’s about letting go of the old ways of being and thinking that got you to this point and discovering a new way of being, God’s way.