As some of you may or may not know, I’m an avid reader. I enjoy the act of reading as a meditative practice, a contemplative practice, a relaxation practice, an educational practice, etc etc etc. I love all of it.
One of the ways that I try to stay in-touch with the trends of the world is through the books that I read. In the world of leadership and business, there is one clear winner of the trend awards…
It’s to the point now that I could likely just create a whole subgenre of the subgenre specifically for this category.
What has shocked me to this point is that everyone has the answer, but the books keep needing to be written. And somehow - they all seem to say conflicting things.
I started this morning with The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. So far it’s presenting the story of an up-and-coming megachurch pastor who burns out and resigns from his position to better center himself in the role of a small-church pastor to ‘get back to his roots’ of ministry. He’s fleeing from the stressors of the fast-paced life of the megachurch towards the simpler ways of the country-living.
I’m giving it a harsher spin than it deserves. I’m certain Comer will teach me some things and help me shape some of how I process things.
But, to be frank - I’m just so used to reading these books that the narrative has become downright synonymous with the Hallmark Channel movie scheme.
Comer will tell the story of finding his family again. Of loving his life again. Of how to trim the fat and return to the true self that God wants him to be.
And it’s likely all true.
But how many of us have been given the platform to lead a megachurch? To have the audience that brings us a following on Instagram of over 100,000? To have 6,000 reviews on a book on Amazon?
Comer and his contemporaries aren’t entitled or being lofty, in my opinion. I don’t judge them for their lot in life. If I’m truly honest with myself, I’m not even jealous of their fame and attention. I like my little spot on the Internet where I get to make mistakes and still feel seen.
However, all of that considered and aside, I’m just not sure if there is a magic bullet of productivity that the latest-and-greatest speaker has to offer.
The topic itself sells a great book. It’s a fun topic that engages and entices. But is it solvable?
My methodology has gone from Evernote to the Bullet Journal and everywhere in between. I’m currently using a combination of Google Calendar and Todoist. Should I write a book on it? Probably. But will a book actually make a difference? No. It doesn’t even make a difference for me.
The harsh reality is that each of these books is written with a false illusion of confidence in a proposed methodology. You can’t convince me that Comer doesn’t have days where he slacks off in an unhealthy way (I’ve only read the first chapter, so he may acknowledge this shortcoming for all that I know). Not every planned moment on Carey Nieuwhof’s calendar is actually productive. The reader doesn’t get to see the truth because it doesn’t sell.
Each self-help author is presenting a way that they have helped themselves - it may or may not work for your situation, too. But it won’t be a magic cure-all. It may work now and not work later.
My advice for the seeker of better productivity?
Forgive yourself for failing. Pick up the pieces and try again. Rinse, repeat.
That’s the truth of a productive life.
March 30th, 2022