Every so often, we consume some form of media related to productivity, and it proves to be very motivating for us. We feel energized after consuming it, and it's not long before we forget about it and move on, without acting.
Herein lies the problem: how do we remember everything in a piece of media designed to inspire us? When you read an inspirational post, or watch an inspirational video, synapses fire, and new connections are made. You can feel the electricity inside your head buzzing. So why does our memory fade nearly one hour after consuming the (apparently) amazing post, book, or talk? Is it because we failed to distil the gist of what is being communicated, and are left to wonder what we just read an hour ago?
This is the problem. We eat productivity posts like they were barbiturates. This is the Mc Donalds web we are consuming. It is the world of words we indulge in, like being left alone in a vast library with all the classic novels, and been given the day off to read snippets of them, halfway between sips of Colombian coffee. There is a turn of phrase to describe this; it's called vicarious reading, or passive reading with the intention of taking action. But oh my, how we never take action!
After telling a friend of mine about the fruitlessness of productivity posts, they replied ―
"Maybe somebody might do something actionable after reading this, I'm going to share this with other people".
I quickly explained how silly that was. As if sharing it helps. If the post genuinely started a silent revolution of the mind for my friend, then fine, by all means; it should be shared.
I only share posts that made me act in a substantial way. By substantial, I mean any talk, book, movie, or post that made me cold call my favorite company asking for a job, or cause me to write the first word of my book, like in that movie Limitless.
We must acknowledge when a productivity post, or talk, has nil effect on us, and realize the trickery of a mere dopaminergic hit. We must pamphleteer the posts and talks that made us do something substantial. Be very selective about what you decide to share, because productivity posts are designed to spread like wildfire. You need to be careful it's the right meme, because when it starts to spread, you are responsible for its success, and by virtue, the success of other people.
A personal favorite of mine is Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, by Suzuki. Without this book, I would probably not be sitting here writing this. I remember reading this book for the first time and fully grasping the fundamental nature of all reality. In Zen, there is the notion of transmission, where enlightenment is passed into the minds of others. I believe this is what happened, and I would like to share the book with others.