The Secret to a Productive Life
Could it be said that the secret to a productive life, at any age, is one
devoted to being as authentic to who you honestly believe you are
inside for the longest span of your days alive? Is the key to living a
productive life discovered by finding the right balance between
what’s acceptable to survive from the perspective of your soul and
what you find minimally acceptable to survive from the perspective
of guaranteeing you have adequate (and preferably exceedingly
comfortable) food, clothing, and shelter?
Some of us do not ask this question of ourselves, after working like
dogs in routineness for most of our lives, until we are well into our
60s, reevaluating what we are going to do with ourselves now that
the years left are much shorter in length than the years that have
The midpoint between your soul’s desires and your work
responsibilities is what’s not acceptable for both. And this balance is
found within your values. Honoring your values eliminates the
possibility of being miserable, although it will not pay your bills
unless you work hard – very hard – at figuring out how to toil at
something meaningful while simultaneously earning enough to pay
the rent. Is that a definition of a productive life?
Such a life is enormously difficult to achieve, but definitely
achievable. Oftentimes, serendipity plays a major role into whether
or not you are thrown off the roller coaster as you continue to
pursue a productive life.
The idea is to figure out how to “walk your why,”
Susan David says, author of Emotional Agility: Get
Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and
Walking your why is the art of living by your own
personal set of values—the beliefs and
behaviors that you hold dear and that give you
meaning and satisfaction. Identifying and acting on the values that
are truly your own—not those imposed on you by others; not what
you think you should care about, but what you genuinely do care
about—is the crucial next step of fostering emotional agility.
Yet, how many humans spend one-third of their lives, and often a lot
more, in a work environment they would rather not be in? “Just 30
percent of employees in America feel engaged at work, according to
a 2013 report by Gallup,” writes Tony Schwartz, CEO of the Energy
Project, an international organizational consulting firm.
Around the world, across 142 countries, the proportion of employees
who feel engaged at work is just 13 percent. For most of us, in short,
work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and in some obvious
ways, it’s getting worse.
So many of us can relate to this on so many levels. What can one do?
One simple (perhaps overly simple) sustaining quote, I’m
paraphrasing, is “to give up ensures misery; to keep trying gives you
a shot; so, what else is there?”
The key to succeeding behind all this, of course, is energy – a must-
have – a stick-to-itiveness that is absolutely needed. The arrow points
Thanks for stopping by,
“Just 30 percent
of employees in
engaged at work.”
- Tony Schwartz