Productivity and Altruism

A conversation On being productive:

I have heard many definitions of productivity. I was even prepared to add my two cents. As usual, however, listening was a far better option, thus opening an opportunity. Through the discussion, several defining traits were outlined. Yet, the conclusion was: “if you have left a situation, better than you found it”, then you have been productive. There, then are more reasons to relax. More reason to be authentic, more reason to simply be good human and simply simplify.

This ‘way of being’ productive, is counter intuitive to most of the definitions I have heard or even considered. Productivity, it seems, shows up as a ‘way of doing’, rather than a ‘way of being’. Or rather, we show up in our jobs as human doings in stead of human beings. This then accounts for how separated and detached we are. Professionalism does not exclude personality. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for everything. Yet as I sit here, it occurs to me, that too many people must believe that professionalism should not show your personality.

The converse of those definitions, can lead to a great deal of stress. If you are the numbers guy, and do that well, you indeed are leaving the situation better than you found it. Yet if you have done so at the price of your soul, if you are not somehow better for it, then the argument does not hold up, that you have been fully productive. Yet, those who enter a situation smiling, smoothing the ruffled feathers of others, provide psychological support, and do customer service are rarely described as productive. Go, however and manage one side without the other. By the definition though, it is clear we leave a situation better than we found it.

Approaching work, and indeed all of life as a genuine human being, is easier for some than others. Those unable to be anything other than human doings, or who have an aversion to revealing a bit of their personality carry more stress, and participate in the judgment of others. Because they know in their heart of hearts that their way is the only way, and others are weird and indeed unproductive.

Also, just as being and doing are two different things, as are personality and activities. Some hobbies, likely should be kept only to the knowledge of friends and not colleagues. But allowing your personality to show through, may not be such a bad thing, it is what we refer to as being genuine. This gives people an opportunity to grow in their own right, and perhaps channel some unique talents and passions, unstiffled.

At the end of the conversation, I was inspired by a feeling of altruism. Some of us have had positions primarily driven by altruistic goals. But, leaving a situation better than you found it, opens doors to enter into any job title with altruism. Finding pride and meaning in any job, makes one more productive.

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