Use compassion, not anger, for productivity

The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work.

Thomas A. Edison

I can have a hard time getting motivated; finding focus, apathy, and lassitude is the enemy to getting sh*t done.

I get desperately frustrated and myself sometimes, but occasionally I get angry.

Anger is different energy than despair; it’s assertive, vital, aggressive. It moves us instead of paralysing us. As such, anger can often seem practical, seductive, the better way. In Chinese medicine, anger overcomes fear. 

I deliberately seek out what makes me angry sometimes to quell my fears and doubts and get the motivation I want and need.

However, it’s not a good strategy to be so upset. It affects my health, mental and physical. 

Also, it doesn’t work; the motivation or energy is misdirected, because I’m too angry. I can’t concentrate, focus my efforts with such strong emotions running through me.

A better strategy I’ve found is self-compassion when I’m faced with my fears, doubts. Allow myself to feel that fear and then do the things that cause it. 

The anger is often directed at myself. A way to avoid being wayward and satisfied with life. The ego attacks like a drill sergeant, chastising mistakes, imperfections and doubts. Anger turned inwards.

A perfectionist ego that seeks to be safe, secure attacks itself for being so insecure. I see it’s a way for the ego to stay in control, in charge. Because it feels it’s the only way.

Yet, such self-harm didn’t work; it made me more frustrated and ashamed because now I’m caught up trying to manage the anger and the shame, not doing the work I know I enjoy and want to do.

It might be with good intentions, but the ego/taskmaster’s emotional baggage slows us down and makes life less enjoyable. Stopping us from focusing on what does matter.

We are too hard on ourselves, feeling the need to do better; we self-flagellate. Such self-harm seems like the right thing to do, but it can defeat our goal of a happier, productive life.

Having the discipline to get our heads down and do the work is never easy. Getting angry may seem like a good way of doing it. But such emotion can easily be misdirected and sabotage our efforts.

A better strategy is to accept that hard work is just that, show some self-compassion for the suffering that will inevitably arise as we work, and then start work.

Facing difficulties, don’t get angry at yourself; instead, show some kindness and then get to work less filled with frustration and more acceptance and patience for the difficulties that lie ahead.

As a Buddist, frustration and anger is the suffering we feel because we cling to the idea the world must live up to our expectations. Such self-centeredness wants to avoid the hard work that great achievements require.

Their advice has been to let go of the need, face the hardship of hard work with a gentler, kinder heart. Such an attitude makes it easier to get the work done because a kind word lightens the burden of fear, makes us feel bolder and ready to face such difficulties.

Such compassion helps us get more work done by accepting reality and not getting caught up in a tiny insecure and unreasonable ego that’s never satisfied and always demands more of us.

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