Make Love to the Work

Just get it done. Crush it. Finish. Ship.

I understand why these mantras are becoming more and more popular, we live in a world where attention is a scarcer than rain in hell.

Everyone talks about peak oil. What about peak attention? What will happen when we literally lose our ability to concentrate for more than five seconds?

So I get it, you’ve got to just find a way to get it done, and do the work whatever way you can.

But sooner or later you realize that finishing alone is a hollow pursuit. It’s not all about how many items you’ve crossed off your list. It’s about how much you enjoyed and surrendered to the process.

The process is not sexy, because it’s where the actual work happens. People aren’t a fan of the work, they just want to have accomplished the goal already. We are a very product-oriented culture.

Even as I’m typing this there is an urge for me to just want to finish. To think of how I’m going to end this article with a final exclamation point. Done.

After all, I’m so busy, and there’s so much to do! New things to complete are appearing in my inbox even while I write. Reminders of things undone are sending urgent push notifications to my brain.

So of course I just need to be done with this. In fact, it’s absolutely urgent that I do so, or who knows what calamity might occur!

But this is simply feeding into the Myth of Done (a close cousin to the Myth of Arriving).

Allow me to get all metaphysical and philosophical on you for a second.

Linear time is nothing more than carefully orchestrated illusion originating in your brain. In reality there is no beginning and no end, just as there never was a “beginning” to the universe. The Hindus have known this for millennia. They see reality and “time” as a circle, not a linear line from one point to the other. The Big Bang was just an expansion the result of a contraction.

When you live life from the circle it’s easy to see that done never arrives, and neither do you.

The “point” of life (there we go again with destinations, it’s so embedded into our language) is not to finish, it’s to fall in love with the process, with the doing, with the being of whatever it is you want to embody.

Find your work, the thing you’re meant to do, then surrender yourself to the process. Don’t fall prey to the myth that you will ever be done.

Don’t try to finish your To Do list. Make love to it and your success comes not in some future point, but in every moment.

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"Jonathan gave me two invaluable things: solid guidance on what really works, and the confidence to make things happen."~ Cara Stein

Comment & Add Your Voice

Ben Austin September 16, 2015 at 12:37 pm

I love this line:

“It’s about how much you enjoyed and surrendered to the process.”

It reminds me of what Steve Jobs always said:

“the journey is the reward”

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Ben September 16, 2015 at 12:50 pm

Boom! Way more fun to experience success in the moment versus hoping you’ll finally get there one day. Thank you much!

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Johnny September 16, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Exactly Ben!

Stay well.

Johnny September 16, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Hello again Jonathan!

Lol, just as I’m talking to my self about this subject, all alone, this post shows up. Awesome. I don’t feel that much alone on having this infection now.

I was just thinking, since have been noticing the last days exactly what you wrote now, that I need to change my focus. NOW is the only “time” to measure.

I have noticed this summer that I have been pretty stressed, in waves coming and going. But I also noticed that it wasn’t so much about the client work. I was keeping up pretty good.

It was about GETTING somewhere, all the time. I’m in the NOW, doing my work. My ME, Moi, my self, as a ball of energy is in the future. Holy shit I said.

So now I’m trying to be more here. Even while I’m just having a zip of my Americano at a coffeeshop. Ha! I have started mindful coffee drinking. Damn, I just blasted out parts of my next blog post!

Love from Norway <3

:)

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Oscar September 16, 2015 at 6:36 pm

Wise words Jonathan.

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Pawan September 16, 2015 at 9:32 pm

My oh my! This piece found me just when I needed it the most. I have a 10 months old and in between taking care of him, the home and endless list or errands, I just never seem to get enough done.

I have been so upset with myself past few days. Kicking myself over and over again for not being productive enough.

Every now and then the voice of wisdom and compassion deep within me would ask “So how will my life improve if I finish the item I am trying so hard to finish? Will moving on to the next item improve my experience of the moment and how I am feeling?” But the voice in my head that just wanna get it over with empower in every time.

Your article has given me the much needed perspective. “It is not about how many articles I have crossed from my checklist, but how much I enjoyed to the process.”

Thanks once again!

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Jerker (Energetic and Productive) September 30, 2015 at 3:50 pm

And is it best to plan each little task or instead make sure you have time to just get a good overview and chip away at the things you know you should be doing? The optimal productivity is so volatile, so hard to grasp and understand, because of how time is not linear, as you point out above…

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