Productivity is Pointless without Passion: A new vision of productivity…

Dustin Wax recently started a very interesting series over at Stepcase Lifehack called, “Toward a New Vision of Productivity“.  So far he has posted 5 articles in a series of twelve.  Some points he made…

  1. What matters most is not the system, or the tools, but the doing
  2. …being productive can’t give our lives meaning, they can only help clear the clutter so we can figure out and focus on the things that do give life meaning… (Clay Collins)
  3. No Priorities = No Direction
  4. The Big Picture is Cloudy
  5. After a century of productivity, we find that our lives aren’t really any more filled with meaning than they were for our great-grandparents
  6. We haven’t really developed any kind of processes for determining or cultivating passions.
  7. Schools are, in general, not equipped to help students cultivate passions.
  8. …being productive without passion is a sure path to disappointment.
  9. In virtually every field, the difference between success and failure, between profit and loss, between growth and decline is determined by the availability of information. In most cases, it’s fair to say that information is productivity.
  10. We are overwhelmed by information not because our heads are lacking, but because for most of us, our head is at odds with our heart and our purpose. Without fixing that, we are stuck in the empty pursuit of information for its own sake.

There is enough fodder in his writing to follow him in lockstep for a month or more. I could write countless arguments, counterpoints, and supporting information to what he is writing. What he is writing truly needs to be read!

But… if I did that I would violate the second and possibly more important point of this article. The point being that we should not conform to the ways and means which others have found so blindly…

“If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.” – Thoreau

The more important point is this…

Productivity is Pointless Without Passion!

I can’t imagine a worse hell. Being really good at accomplishing tasks that you utterly despise.

Yet, how often do we live our lives this way?

Do not do what society tells you. Even if its what normal, or accepted, or the thing you “should” do.

You must, you must, you must, live your own life. You are not helping anyone by doing things that they want you to do if you have no passion for them. Without passion you will eventually fall far short of expectations and you will turn it into a lose-lose situation.

Instead, find a win-win situation.

Find your passion.

Then find the people who will benefit from the new found productivity you have generated by practicing your passion.

They will be grateful.

You will be happy.

Everyone wins! 😉

The ideas presented here have some obvious implications when it comes to talking about education. I will touch on a few more points this week and then begin my weeklong series on education next week. Please subscribe using the link below so you won’t miss a thing…

Originally posted 2009-01-05 22:26:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter


  1. Passion is the key. without it, whatever is done seems lackluster and I think folks can sense that there’s no passion.

    An absolute necessity, it is.

    Thanks for sharing this Jeremy

    Tumblemoose’s last blog post..Are you a closet writer?

  2. I have to agree with your assessment (I haven’t read his stuff you linked yet, only your post). I spent decades doing what I was “supposed to do”, hating each day more and more. I have been at that point where I know I can no longer live that way, even though so far it has meant no clear path. That’s okay by me for now 🙂

    James NomadRip’s last blog post..VHS joins 8-Track, Beta, Cassette Tapes and LP’s in the Media Graveyard

  3. There are several great points listed here but a few major contradictions as well. In fairness, the points were likely taken from separate posts.

    Unfortunately, productivity and passion are blogosphere buzz words that have been over-used to the degree that their respective meanings have almost become abstract.

    To keep my comment a modest length, I’ll take issue with only one point (#9): “In virtually every field, the difference between success and failure, between profit and loss, between growth and decline is determined by the availability of information. In most cases, it’s fair to say that information is productivity.”

    Information is certainly not productivity — the prudent ALLOCATION of attention is productivity! In fact, more information often translates to LESS productivity.

    The almost entertaining irony here is that productivity and passion are topics that attract readers’ attention in the “personal development” and “self-improvement” realm of the blogosphere. In other words, bloggers know how to “steal attention” with certain hot topics. When the attention is attracted, it is consumed; hence, the blogger has more readers but the readers have less attention to allocate to productive resources…

    Here’s a new suggested title: “Productivity is Pointless Without Self-Awareness”

  4. @ George – You are right. Passion is pretty key.

    @ James – Thanks for visiting! Ah yes, the clear path is the easy path. Those that choose their own way often have their work cut out for them. They have to blaze a trail. Sometimes that trail goes through a really thick jungle. Sometimes its just through the open plains. I wish you all the best! 😉

    @ Kent – I always appreciate your deep thinking in regards to my writing. And I think I have to agree with your assessment. Again, to be fair, I did pluck random points out of the 5 different articles he has posted so far. What I was trying to do was draw a common thread between what he was saying and take it in my own direction.

    From one fellow wordsmith to another I have to agree that word choice is very important. Self-awareness is a very good word choice. I had already planned to go deeper on this topic…

    Your last point is very valid. Its ironic that sometimes the very thing we want our readers to do is what we tell them not to do in our blogs. And that is to not waste time in reading our blogs, just get out there and do.I know we hold the common philosophy that knowledge needs applied if it is ever to be useful.

    My goal now is to think deeply about what I will write next that will actually help people apply it and have a higher productivity level based on their own self-awareness…

    I think the question I want to ask myself is how to make the abstract more concrete?

    Thank you again for your wisdom and insight…


    p.s. Im just re-reading your comment and I like your use of the word attention. What we put our attention toward is what we are productive in… that’s why people with multiple attentions, such as myself, never seem to get anywhere fast…

  5. Jeremy:

    I suggest the best way to make the abstract more concrete is for the individual to define these words for themselves.

    For example, corporations have a clear understanding and definition of “productivity,” which is essentially to increase units of output while holding or reducing units of input. Corporations also have a clear and understood objective of increasing profit. Why don’t individuals do the same?

    As individuals, to be productive, we should first define what it is that we are trying to produce (more time for meaningful pursuits, greater health, improved relationships); then the definition for “productivity” can follow.

    You may gain a broader understanding of my view, in the event you are interested, by reading a former post of mine, titled “Mind vs Brain: Priorities, Pursuits & Productivity.”

    Here’s the URL:

    Ironically, some of the ideas in that post were inspired by the ideas of other bloggers, such as Clay Collins.

    You might also try looking into the question of words and defintions as well and the potential for language to distract people…

    “Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.” ~ Martin Heidegger

  6. Hi Jeremy. I totally get this. Productivity without passion is robotic. There is no life. Reminds me of the crowds of people on the subways and buses on their way to work in the morning.

    Davina’s last blog post..The Quote Effect: Naughty, Nice & Niche Bloggers

  7. Hey Jeremy,

    I believe there will be minimal productivity when there is no passion in the things we do. See how many greats had succeeded and the fuel to their success is their passion.

    Personal Development Blogger

    Vincent’s last blog post..Best Of Hit Your Goals at 2008

  8. Hi Jeremy

    Yes, this series is very interesting.

    The passion and productivity is a good point. Productivity where there is no passion can make one’s life feel even more empty. Constantly being busy with “nothing” creates a meaningless life.


    LifeMadeGreat | Juliet’s last blog post..Are You Using Your Personal Development Knowledge?

  9. You’ve pinpointed my main dissatisfaction with the uberproductivity mindset!

    Hayden Tompkins’s last blog post..Marriage: The Real Deal?

  10. Hi Kent,

    I took the time to read that article and the other related articles. They are all good stuff. I also spent some time on Clay’s old blog. And read most of the comments on some of his major articles. More and more I realize that some of the business concepts I have learned over the years really can apply to life if we know how to apply them!

    The main one that stands out is the idea of “problem definition”. As you said, words, concepts, and their definitions need to be clear. Once we have a clear definition we can proceed to make a plan. Once we have a clear plan we can follow it. Which leads me to my next post about defining meaning in our lives….


  11. @ Hayden – Yes, let’s be uberproductive in things that matter to us! 😉

    @ Juliet – Yep, busy with “nothing”. Well put.

    @ Vincent – I agree. I think its hard to sustain high levels of productivity without passion.

    @ Davina – Yes, the crowds of people like in the Matrix. Little do they know that there is a red pill and a blue pill… 😉


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