August 2, 2018 by Dymphna

The two keys to happiness AND productivity

There’s a line of hungers waiting for you. Don’t listen to them.

There’s an idea that comes up in a few places that says:

“Satisfy a desire and it will only give birth to more desire.”

Think Ecclesiastes 1, or I think the Buddha said something similar.

But in many ways its one of the first human deceptions we face.

Our desires make us believe that there is rest and relaxation on the other side of them. If I only scratch this itch, then I could rest.

But it’s a lie. Scratch one itch and you’ll find another itch pops up to take its place.

Get something to eat and you’ll want to make love. Make love and then you’ll want to sleep. Go to sleep and you’ll wake up hungry.

And we end up ‘chained to the wheel of desire.’

The wisdom here is obviously that if we want to be happy, don’t go looking for it in the satisfaction of desire. There’s no happiness there. It’s just a hamster wheel.

Happiness is an inside job, and it comes through internal alchemical processes, not through anything you can find ‘out there’.

And the catalyst of that alchemical process is gratitude. Be grateful for everything you have, and the least amount will make you happy.

Be grateful for nothing you have, and you’ll be miserable even if you owned the whole world.

This is all fairly well understood now I think, but I also think it can give us an insight into our productive processes, and procrastination in particular.

I reckon procrastination is often a wheel of desire, spinning in reverse.

Like, I’ll get on to that job, just as soon as I’ve had a cup of tea. Or, just as soon as I’ve sorted out the filing. Or, just as soon as I’ve had a bit of a nap, or caught up on my favourite show.

It’s the idea that on the other side of this itch is some sort of productive flow zone.

But it’s also a lie. There is an endless line of hungers waiting for you in every direction.

And just as we have to learn to separate our happiness from our desires, we have to learn to separate our hungers from our productive flows.

We’ve got to realise that productivity is also an inside job.

It’s also got to come from within, an alchemical process between our will and our vision.

It’s not something that will happen when everything is lined up – when the tea is ready and the emails have all been read.

It’s something we’ve got to bring ourselves, kicking and screaming if we have to.

It does seem that everything worth having in life, whether it’s happiness or productivity, is up to us.