Making Progress is one of the best feelings in life. Beware false progress markers.
-Michael Mayer (@mmay3r)
Is “being busy” a status symbol?
It appears so.
Many people love to brag about how tired, busy, and stressed they are.
They’re engaged in a misery competition.
However, the more busywork you do, the less you’re making an impact.
Are you really adding to your vision or are you chasing empty dopamine hits?
The last thing you want is to waste your life on the wrong treadmill.
This post will help you avoid common busywork traps, freeing time and energy for you to make moves that matter.
Being Busy Vs. Productive – Ego Traps
Never mistake activity for accomplishment.
-John C. Maxwell
Here are a few examples of “being busy”.
- Reading “feel good” books filled with fortune-cookie platitudes.
- Printing businesses cards without making any sales.
- Flexing your LLC registration on Instagram.
- Engaging in endless “meetings”.
- Going to “networking events”.
As you can see, the main problem with busywork is focusing on empty checklists and the superficial appearances of things.
MJ Demarco, author of “The Millionaire Fastlane” calls this “action faking”.
List checking is really a series of ego massages. It allows you to FEEL important without taking any actual risk.
This hamster wheel is fueled by a thirst for validation. When you validate yourself, you step off of it.
How can you expect to reap the rewards of greater risk if you care what people think of you?
You see, there is no growth unless your body, money, or emotions (ego) are on the line.
Don’t create an image of action to conceal inaction. Tons of people advertise themselves as “creatives” or “entrepreneurs“, but are real life bums.
Most would rather pay for permission to feel certain emotions than to get results.
Plenty of marketers take advantage of this. They sell products and services catering to the “growth without risk” illusion.
There are entire industries built around these needs.
- Video games are achievement porn.
- Materialism is the illusion of social mobility.
- The underground music scene is filled with juicy prey for dream sellers.
“Here’s a signing bonus + an iced out chain. Thanks for giving me the rights to your master tracks!”
Notice how the executive focuses on *recurring* income while the naive artist goes for the instant money?
How The Experts Stay Productive
Ownership is true productivity.
You’re compressing great scale into your own pocket.
DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia discusses the value of OWNERSHIP in this interview:
(Start at 7:59)
An upfront check gonna hit you across the head with fees. I liked how we did it to get slow money over the years. I’d rather get a million dollars over a few years than in a single year.
This is why long-term ownership can only be attained by those with greater emotional control.
Too many want the money now and disregard VALUE.
Well invested time builds *assets* (the greatest of which is your SELF).
Well invested time > well invested money.
— prince (@__hunts) September 11, 2017
The busy trap is about action without strategy. If you aren’t directing your energies into the right LANE, none of your efforts will bear fruit.
What makes the difference?
A *system of ownership* spreads your work at greater scale.
The goal is to chase performance, not fatigue.
Stick To The Fundamentals
If a book isn’t worth re-reading, it isn’t worth reading.
“The busy trap” also applies to high-value habits such as reading + working out.
High-value habits aren’t enough to get you where you want to go.
The activity itself doesn’t matter. Only the *quality of your practice* does.
Reading to confirm your biases = fishing for likes.
Only difference is the illusion of productivity.
— Mister Infinite (@mister_infinite) July 8, 2017
Share if you agree.
Real improvement = spending every day exploring the depths of the fundamentals.
Your actions are meaningless if they don’t improve anything. You’re playing yourself if you cheat your workouts, skillset, or understanding.
Reading without taking notes is like working out with no pump.
The fundamentals of any activity = working your pump.
Success isn’t so much of an end point as it is a *rhythm*.
That’s what matters.
That’s the quality of your practice.
When you stick to the basics, you gradually build a strong foundation of accumulated time and energy.
“Suddenly”, a valuable network becomes available to you. This is because your body of work and creations tells your story for you.
You’ve demonstrated value through your accomplishments.
Not with a self-proclaimed “thought leader” twitter bio.
Not with business cards.
Not with IG likes.