Yesterday I came across two videos that just kind of resonated with me a bit from a YouTuber named Mayuko Inoue. The videos in particular had to do with times that you aren’t the most productive person on the planet, and why that’s ok. I really liked the way she framed up that emotional state and wanted to share it here.
Thoughts on Hustle Culture…
So, contrary to a post that I made a little while ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as 2021 has been marching along. I have really begun to question the value of “going-” and “being on-” all the time. Is a lot of that fueled by what some have coined as COVID Blues? Possibly. But it still feels like a topic worth reflecting on and time well spent if I land the plane somewhere I’m comfortable with.
I have kind of been asking myself: What makes hustling so attractive to people?
I know that there are busybodies out there who just have to always do something, and I know that there are people who are either workaholics or genuinely super passionate about what they’re doing. But what about everyone else? Surely EVERYONE isn’t made for the hustling lifestyle, and that’s ok… right? Like… it should be… shouldn’t it?
Work. We all have to live, so work. But work to live – don’t live to work.
Contribute. Yes, contribute to making the world better – but don’t let contributions define you.
I honestly don’t know if the push to “always be advancing” is an American ideal or if it’s the culmination of generation-after-generation of parents (who genuinely wanted the best for their kids) pushing excellence on their children.
Ironically, there is now a generation of adults out there obsessed with keeping up the rigorous scheduling of their childhoods, or trying to make up for the lost time in their mental schedules of productivity, all because of anxiety (at the end of the day — if we’re being totally honest).
I really don’t know — but, I do think this is something that everyone needs to figure out for themselves.
The place that I’m landing so far is that I won’t obsess with pursuing hustling just so that I can feel like I’m doing something with my life because I think that’s toxic and history likely won’t remember my name for anything. I suspect my second death (the moment someone says your name for the last time after you die) will come fairly soon after I leave this world, and that’s ok!! I literally won’t care because I’ll be dead – LOL! Not trying to get morbid, just keeping it 100. Instead, I choose to focus on what makes me happiest in the few moments I have in this life.
That brings me to the next video.
Thoughts on Being Unproductive…
We all have moments where we just don’t feel like doing anything and we all just want to “potato” (as she puts it). Side note: What did potatoes do to get coined the lazy vegetable? I mean, I feel like they aren’t doing any more or less than any other vegetable or fruit? You could literally call someone a “couch lemon” and you’d essentially be saying the same thing as “couch potato” right? Anyway…
I used to feel TERRIBLE when I’d have moments like this. While I’ve never gone full “let’s skip the next couple of weeks” like she describes in the video above, I have lost days to this emotional state. And when I think about it, a lot of it is rooted in the vicious cycle of “feeling off” and then “feeling bad for feeling off”.
It is like I question my value to society and justification for existing if I’m not out trying to max out my productivity. At least… that used to be the case. I no longer feel that way.
In this pursuit of what makes me happiest, I’ve learned to keep things in perspective and remember that I have added plenty of value to the world in my short time here, and if I want to take a day or two off from that – it’s ok. I intentionally go days without doing much in certain zones of my life because I don’t always feel like I need to 100% commit to every little detail of my existence each day.
Something clicked in my head that, “This can’t be what life is about.” The meaning of my time on this planet can’t be, “Produce as much as possible.” What?! What the hell am I? A battery? A machine?
No – I’m human.
I feel like we’ve geared a lot of society to forget that.
Take a Breath
I haven’t fully grasped what all of this means for me personally just yet, and these thoughts have clearly been mixing around in my afro-coated head prior to these videos — but I know it means to stop and breathe. I have scheduled a few days off work next week, and I’ll likely take that time to consider what all of this means for me at this moment. This feels like something worth dedicating time to in 2021.
I can’t tell others what to do here other than to REALLY reflect and think about what matters to you right now. If it’s your job – that’s fine. If it’s your relationship – cool. Family? Ok. A dream you’re pursuing? Great. Do you — but make sure you’re doing it because you know you really want to, not because of a bad feeling you get when you’re not busy.
I think you can have goals and achieve them without having to constantly push yourself to extremes. Develop a process that works for you, exercise realistic expectations and patience, and you’ll be fine. It is ok to slow down and find the joys in your life.
If you have any thoughts on this one, I’d love to hear them in the comment section below.