In all the business communities I belong to there’s a tremendous focus on GSD – getting stuff done. I get it. There’s a great satisfaction in getting a lot done in a day and checking things off your to do list.
But I notice something else. While some people are clearly much better than others at GSD, and they usually have the results to prove it, it doesn’t seem as if this super-productivity creates a lot of happiness and life satisfaction. I don’t have any science to prove this beyond my own observation, but I’ve been noticing it for a long time.
I know one man who posts a lot about productivity on Facebook and is always encouraging people to find smarter ways to achieve more – and yet, beneath the surface, there’s an exhaustion in his energy that’s tangible. I know other people who are amazing in what they get through in a day, but at times I ask myself what’s the cost. And they ask themselves the same question as they feel disconnection in their key relationships and often health problems as well.
One of the problems of being super-productive is that you use a lot of yang energy. Yang energy is all about activity, productivity, doing, focus, goals, direction and achievement. It contrasts with yin energy which is receptive, passive, allowing, quiet, being (non-doing) and non-focused.
The ancient Chinese recognised thousands of years ago that if you want to be healthy, happy and successful it’s important to balance your energy. They would never have encouraged us to live the way we do today, where almost everything we do is yang. It leads to poor health, lack of happiness and in the end it limits your success too. Equally they would never expect you to swing the other way and go completely yin. That will also lead to disappointment and imbalance.
So how can you balance GSD with something more yin, without compromising your results?
When effective, successful people start working with me they often experience a burst of business results that may be unexpected or come in more easily that they’d experienced before. This is simply the consequence of relaxing. I ask everyone I work with to relax every day. This is taking time to do nothing. It’s a very yin experience. It’s about receiving and allowing and there’s absolutely no doing. It’s not easy for someone who’s very focused and success-driven, but it makes an enormous difference.
If they continue to relax every day, their results continue to get easier and lighter. They tell me they don’t have to work as hard as before to get better results. They have more energy and more focus and more gets done for them, usually by other people. Their productivity increases without having to GMSD (get more stuff done). And gradually it becomes a habit.
We could call this LSI – letting stuff in. When you relax you become receptive. It’s easier for good things to happen to you. Results come in more easily. It may sound a bit wishy washy, but it’s simply the case, witnessed over and over again by me and many others.
I’m not suggesting that we should all stop GSD and focus on on LSI. That would ultimately produce the same kind of imbalance as we already have. But if you balance GSD with LSI you will find it easier to get the results you’re looking for without having to increase your GSD productivity alone. This is a way to prevent the exhaustion and burnout that results from an over-focus on GSD and to improve your health and happiness as well as your business.
And if you’re a gamechanger, someone who’s committed to making the world a better place through your work, you’ll find it even more important to be able to relax. It’s far more challenging to be a gamechanger than to run a regular business. You’re constantly questioning the status quo and trying to change people’s habits and ways of thinking, as well as keeping the business growing. That’s not easy.
When you relax deeply every day you feel more connected with your purpose and direction and don’t have to work so hard at staying on track. You feel more aligned with life itself and you may feel as if you’re being led in the right direction, step by step, even when you’re not sure what’s coming next.
Relaxation has been seen as a very poor cousin of meditation until recently, but I’m beginning to hear it mentioned more frequently in higher spiritual circles because it’s so simple and takes you so deep. To me it’s the first response and the final response in any challenge. I start by relaxing whenever I experience a problem and I end by relaxing when I finally solve and let go of the problem. It helps me get ideas, find unusual possibilities and achieve what I could never achieve through thought and mental activity alone. It’s the cornerstone of my daily energy maintenance and I expect that to continue throughout my life.