Kylteri 02/23

Reflecting on Sustainable Productivity and Growth

Autumn has arrived, offering us a perfect chance to reflect on the subjects we invest our limited time and energy on. Through reflection, we can, just as the leaves turn yellow and fall gently to the ground, shed the unnecessary burdens that weigh us down. Kylteri’s journalist Miska Lindström contemplates the quietness of autumn and how that can be used to cultivate a healthier mindset towards productivity.

The word “productivity” has become somewhat of a buzzword, often stripped of its true essence. Genuine productivity – or success – shouldn’t merely be about doing more; it should be about doing what truly matters exceptionally well. As the days are growing shorter, it’s normal to be lacking the drive to push as hard. However, just as the trees are surrendering their leaves, we, too, can let go of unnecessary burdens, making space for more sustainable growth.

For many, this lack of energy can be amplified by media: comparison, mindlessness, and even an inability to connect with the world. The pervasive culture of quickly chasing achievement often encourages one to evade what truly matters, all while hindering the ability to simply focus, stay unique and grateful for what’s achieved.

Unplugging to Redefine

Eliminating the trivial deeds that contribute to a less fulfilling life often means swimming against the tide. There’s power in stepping away from the incessant notifications to grasp some beautiful air and exchange the seemingly endless scrolling for a walk with some real contemplation.

Unplugging doesn’t mean disconnecting from the world or the challenges life brings. It means making space for your body to sense the cues it’s given by your surroundings. Through trial and introspection, you’ll gain clarity regarding the actions and the people you should be surrounding yourself with.

For you to redefine your actions you also need to reconsider your values, and the values of the people you’re spending time with. Evaluating everything you take in, from Instagram posts to traditional news. Being aware that all of this affects you and being open to the idea that not all of it is right. One crucial example is realizing that the conventional indicators of wealth and success, such as expensive clothing or thousands of followers online, might not be the most sustainable measures for everyone.

End the Obsession on Status

The societal emphasis given to high-achieving individuals in terms of status has created wide gaps in the network of mental health. I believe most, if not all of us, can agree that the competitiveness that surrounds success can easily become tiring.

Certainly, the responsibility a competitive environment – such as a university, a sports team or any other group of like-minded, high-achieving individuals – gives one is life-changing. This responsibility pushes one forward towards a culture of innovation and achievement. However, giving too much weight to comparison through achievements, such as money or status, can lead to promoting competition over collaboration. This, in turn, may lead to young individuals feeling lonely or alone with their craft. Does anyone really want to work tirelessly to excel at something while being unable to share their success with their “competitors”, instead of working and growing together as peers?

Better values are the key to overcoming these issues. Keeping personal goals on growth instead of winning; improving oneself instead of defeating others. Needless to say, the real world doesn’t behave like this. People will always find ways to fight and compare, bloating their egos in the process – that’s just a fact we need to cope with. Although the difficulty of breaking this cycle is very real, we can all find well-being through embracing the possibilities in diversity and perspective.

The writer is an advocate for an open perspective, whose mind wanders all over the place.