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Productivity Isn't Everything

Nick Englehart

Posted on May 21, 2020 00:33

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There are a lot of people telling us we have to be more productive. Perhaps we don't have to listen.

What is it that draws me to master sushi chefs? Their stories create an atmosphere of otherworldliness. I am amazed at the sublime nature of their craft. They are masters. From 15 minutes to an hour we see them work, and an eerily familiar narrative lies at the back of my mind. These are industrious men. They worked their way through kitchens often for decades before they touched their first piece of sushi. They scaled fish and shucked oysters. They cooked the same egg dish until every batch was perfect. This is not mastery of craft in the same way as the artist or the musician. They are masters of a profitable skill, one that produces a desirable (and to us, "exotic") fair. They are the epitome of production. They are the dream of the American Dream.

I have noticed an increase in newspaper and magazine articles littered with words such as, "growth," "productivity," "habits," and "side-hustle." Short, poorly thought-out solutions to our newfound awareness of the existential. The intention may be to provide a reprieve from current events. If you can't contribute to the world, how instead can you contribute to yourself? This idea is not a bad one. Philosophers, artists, writers and theists have spent lifetimes answering these questions. Productivity isn't enough.

Productivity grew 2.9% in non-farming businesses in 2019, slightly above the decade's averages. Businesses made a lot of money. Workers are doing more for their employers than ever before. Despite our surging economy, wages aren't rising and a record number of workers are striking. There is something fishy in the air. Real people are leaning hard into a "hard work makes earned success," ethos and find themselves pushing against an immovable wall. When the wall doesn't budge, we ask ourselves: "What's wrong with us?"

There is nothing wrong with me, that's what I have to keep telling myself. I don't need to be doing anything right now (other than writing these articles.) This is an unprecedented moment for this country, the world, and it's people. No one is right about how you should be surviving the moment. My productivity doesn't define me and it certainly doesn't guarantee any level of success.

Why do master sushi chefs amaze me? There's something about their single-minded dedication. A task without finality. A yearning to be the best. For the totality of these men's lives, they will indefinitely and ineffably strive to do better tomorrow. They will wake up at 3 a.m. to head to the fish market, go to their restaurants, prepare the fish, make the fish, serve the customer, and finally, fall asleep. When they wake up they have their restaurant. When they wake up, they live their life.

Nick Englehart

Posted on May 21, 2020 00:33

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Source: AZ Central

Rose Court Assisted Living & Memory Care in Phoenix has had 16 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths.             

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