Some people have been asking me about productivity recently, close friends and acquaintances that have wondered how I got a book out, etc. Because goddammit, that’s a lot of words. And yeah, it is.
The truth is, I did have some idea of how to complete big projects, or make progress in some kind of huge endeavour beforehand, but most of what I learned was in Japan, studying in a Zen temple earlier this year.
Give in to the machine.
There, I said it. You want the liberty of a freelancer, to choose when you’re working and when you’re boozing it up with friends, but guess what?
Freedom is killing you.
When I was in Japan, I meditated about two hours everyday. Now, I do it barely at all. What’s changed? The system, of course. The routine was there beforehand, with social pressure to get me to behave and a daily set of habits that included weeding, sitting meditation, pre-set meal times, all of that stuff.
Now, my life is the opposite. I spend a few hours reading every day, whenever I want. I consider this valuable work, but I’m not in the machine. I’m free– TOO free, in fact.
This is the problem most of us with day jobs have too. We’re so used to being told what to do during the day that we never let our own internal machine develop.
We’re like “Yeah, finally I have time to do what matters to ME,” but then we don’t do it because we think the freedom is what allows for progress. It isn’t.
All the best work that I’ve done, the most progress that I’ve made, was done with the help of social pressure and a routine that was unforgiving of failure. If you’re from the Western world, I’m going to guess you’re the same.
We need to put ourselves back into some kind of set habits– as much as possible, in fact, if we’re going to make progress.
Think about it: Would you even have graduated high school if you weren’t forced to be there?