Lately I've been thinking a lot about all that’s happened this year, both personally and globally, and what it has meant for my ability to be productive in the ways I want to be. 2020 has shaken us as individuals and as a society. A lot of us have had to rethink our priorities, even our identity. All the upheaval and difficulty has brought to the forefront of my mind some fundamental personal qualities I think are incredibly important if we want to be productive and make a life that matters.
Important characteristics for meaningful productivity
1. Kindness - the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
There has been so much conflict this year--disagreements at all levels of society; locally, nationally, and globally. Disagreements over the pandemic and how to handle it, social justice issues, election disagreements, and natural disaster crises and how to best take care of people. I've noticed lots of finger-pointing, blaming, and condemnation. It seems we’ve lost the ability to disagree without condemning the ones we disagree with as stupid or evil or both.
Maybe it’s normal in times of crisis to look for someone to blame or to defend our position by dismissing those who disagree. But we can get lost in the anger and blaming and condemnation and suffer because of it, both individually and as a society. If we are fighting with each other, we lose the chance to work together to find solutions. I think we need kindness now more than ever.
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~ Lao Tzu
“I’ve been searching for ways to heal myself, and I’ve found that kindness is the best way.” ~ Lady Gaga
“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” ~ Henry James
2. Self-care - kindness to yourself. Being friendly, generous, and considerate of yourself.
One writer notes:
“When you're stressed, it can be all too easy to neglect your own needs. Losing your appetite, ignoring exercise, and not getting enough sleep are all common reactions to a crisis situation. Instead, focus on building your self-nurturance skills, even when you're troubled.”
When you’re under stress, it's even more important to take care of your body, mind, and spirit. Get adequate rest, eat healthy food (and a treat now and then!), and get regular exercise, even if it's just a 30-minute walk each day. Guard your heart--being mindful of what you read/watch/listen to matters. Finally, find what brings joy and make space in your life for that.
“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” ~ Jean Shinoda BolenM.D. (a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, and author)
3. Mind management.
Personally, when something unexpected or unpleasant occurs, my mind goes down the most negative path and I have to work really hard to manage my catastrophic thinking, and continuously remind myself to do so. As I have in the past, I'd like to recommend Brooke Castillo's a href="https://thelifecoachschool.com/podcasts/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noref...