Happiness versus productivity

think Happiness versus productivityThe question has been given to me by Corinne Edward: “How we feel we have to be productive in order to justify our being on this planet.” I would say that this is a why we feel we have to be productive in order to justify our being on this planet. What do you think?

My answer to that question is actually very simple: Society

An example of this is:  You are at a social even; what is one of the first questions someone will ask you? “What do you do?”

Society has gotten to the point that this is the most important thing for a person’s worth and I find this is very sad.  Take for example a stay-at- home mom.  Have you ever noticed the look on someone’s face when a mother tells them that she is,”A STAY AT HOME MOM or DAD?” It is like, “Man you really don’t do anything worthwhile.”  To me this is clearly one of the most important jobs in the world.  This one person is taking the time to guide and mentor the next generation by raising their children instead of putting that responsible on another person.  Talk about sacrificing your own interest for another person, what more can the planet expect out of you?

Another example would be a man or woman that works in a job where they are a common laborer.  Some people may look down on them, because they may not be bringing home a large pay check, but what would happen to this planet if we did not have people like this to make our roads for us or dig the ditches we may need?

Even though both examples involve types of productivity, society does not look at it this way.  To society productive is a big pay check.  Am I wrong on this?  If so please correct me.

Are you willing to give up your happiness to please society by being productive 24/7 and putting the people you love in second place?  I guess the rebel in me comes out when I think of this question, because I say, “heck with society, they aren’t living my life!”

Society isn’t going to tell me what I am worth by judging my productivity and the size of my income, rather than who I am inside. I could go on for hours about this, but I don’t want to bore you, so I’ll try to make this as simple and clearly as I can.

What would make you the happiest?

Working 24/7 to please society and your social friends with all the nice material things on this planet? Or would you be happier with taking some time out of your day to spend regrouping with yourself or your family and friends?  Why not make a plan to have some fun and escape, for a while,  and forget that productivity we are all suppose to be doing, because that is what society tell us our worth comes down too.

My worth comes down to the people in my life that I love and care about; that is what makes me happy. When I take inventory of my day it is how I treated people and what I could do for them that make me feel good all over.  It isn’t how I impressed my neighbor by coming home late at night with that pocket full of money or the car that is parked in my drive way.  It is how I touched other people’s lives that day.

With that said let us put the right meaning into productive:  PRODUCTIVE refers to a generative source of continuing activity.

Notice the word activity!  Has society turned this word into a new meaning?  One can relax with an activity and still be productive even if it means, helping an elderly person across the street or reading a book.  Let’s face it taking a warm relaxing bath is an activity.

Next time someone ask you what you do you might what to say, “I am productive on this planet by making the most out of the time I spend with the people I love and care about.  I do ____ (my job) in my spare time.

What meaning do you put to productivity? I would appreciate your opinion on this!

Debbie with a little rebel in her!

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  1. Hi Debbie — Your post really hits home with me. I think what it all boils down to is that the “activity” that you do, no matter what that activity is, has do be fulfilling to you, and then you will feel productive. I am a working mom. I have always had a busy, out of the home, full time career, which supports my family. My “job” is a very big and important part of my life. I find my productivity through my work very fulfilling. I also find my ability to juggle being a good mom and a working mom very fulfilling. Of course, there are plenty of days where I wish I didn’t have the pressure and stress of working and being a mom, but those days and feelings often pass quickly. I wouldn’t be good as a stay at home mom. I know I wouldn’t feel fulfilled. However, I don’t think I am a better person or mother because I work. I think, simply said, being a working mom works for me. I know it’s not for every woman.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Boring Mom Blog =-.

    • Hi Lisa,

      I do know where you are coming from. My oldest daughter is a working mom. She does work from home, but also has to work away from home quite a lot. If she was home 24/7 with her kids they would probably drive her nutty and she is a good mom. What I feel is important is that when we are feeling the stress of life that we just need to step back a little and do something relaxing. Kind of like regrouping. It renews the soul and makes us ready to go again.

      To your stress free days and happiness,

  2. Dear Debbie –

    Well this is a first for me. Someone writing a whole post in answer to a question I posed on your site.

    What an honor.

    I love this part –

    “My worth comes down to the people in my life that I love and care about; that is what makes me happy. When I take inventory of my day it is how I treated people and what I could do for them that make me feel good all over.”

    I have read this over and over. You are really a sensitive and brilliant writer.

    You have justified your position in the Universe magnificently today.
    .-= Corinne Edwards´s last blog ..INTERNET VIDEO – 101 – and a few wild ideas =-.

    • Thank you Corinne,
      I have a lot of respect for you Corinne and when you posed the question to me, it just felt right to give you an answer. You deserve to be honored, so run with it.

      Thank you for the nice words, you have know idea how wonderful they are to hear. You make me want to cry, but guess I better not, don’t want to mess up my key board. Some times I really wonder if I know what I am doing when it comes to my blog, but then sweet people like you come along and I know I have to keep working at this.
      Thank you so very much and I really appreciate you posing the question. That is one thing I love is answering question. Guess I got the hang of that when I was raising 3 girls alone. lol
      You have a wonderful happy evening,
      p.s. Speaking from the heart has always worked for me best.

  3. I often wonder if it is possible to please society, or would it just find other means to be negative. the media, the pressure and the ignorance of people can be quite strong sometimes. You pose alot of good questions Debbie, thanks for sharing :)

    • Hi Billy,

      My answer to pleasing society. I don’t think it is possible. When it comes to the ignorance of people I believe there ignorance comes from esteem. Instead of judging others, when we try to understand where they are coming from, because most of them are hurting in some way. People try to follow society, because they want to belong to something. That is why it is so important to have good leaders.
      Take for example a family. Everyone in the family has a talent. In time of a crisis if everyone in that family uses there talents in the right way, you work through the crisis. How ever if everyone is trying to out do the other the crisis will not get resolved easily.
      What it comes down to is being yourself and in this way you contribute to this planet with your given talents. The mistake comes in when we let society tell us what we need or what is good for us. If you are a born follower, be careful who you follow, they could lead you down the wrong road.

      That is my thoughts and I really appreciate your thoughts.
      Have a wonderful happy day.

  4. Debbie, I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately, in part because it’s very important to me and in part because I’m reading the book Happier, which I’ll write about soon.

    I strive to do things — productivity — in which the actual process makes me happy. I’m less concerned with reaching goals or delayed gratification. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some things I do that are tedious, just that the overall process brings me joy.
    .-= John Soares @ Productivity Techniques´s last blog ..How Being Late Hurts You — And What to Do About It =-.

    • Hi John,

      I did get me the book “Happier.” Reading it now (will not at this moment in time). Goes to show that even thought I am very happy that we all have something to learn and it never hurts to raise the bar.
      I look forward to you writing about the book. Knowing you it should be good.
      To your everyday happiness,

  5. Eat Smart Age Smart says:

    I must say that I am quite happier with my life and future!

    This is quite the post that makes you think and I quite like the comments as well.

    .-= Eat Smart Age Smart´s last blog ..New England Soup Factory Cookbook More Than 100 Recipes from the Nations Best Purveyor of Fine Soup =-.

    • Thanks Krizia. It does make one stop and think and it was Corinne’s question, so I can’t take all the credit.

  6. Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny

    Hi Debbie,
    I call it the interview…when I arrive at my time share – heavily frequented by American tourists – the first question out of everyone’s mouth whenever a conversation starts is “what do you do”?

    I’m on vacation! Not only am I not interested in talking about what I do, I’m even less interested in what you do. I’m much more interested in discussing the pros and cons of visiting this place or that and wondering what tastes good in the restaurant.

    Seriously, I think we have it all wrong. :(
    .-= Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny´s last blog ..Top 12 delightfully funny facebook fan pages – I magically get less sleepy when I walk out of a classroom =-.

    • Hi Cheryl,

      You made me laugh with your comment. You most definitely have it right! When I am on vacation and someone ask me the question, “What do you do?” I shall remember to tell them “I am on vacation!” Love your answer!
      Thanks Cheryl love your humor!!!!

  7. Debbie,

    Great post answering a question such as Corinne’s. Americans in particular spend way too much time “being productive” at whatever it is we do. We’re a bunch of workaholics or work for workaholics who insist we shall follow their example. When are we going to learn we are not what we do nor should our value be determined by what we do. We are valuable because we exist, and that’s enough. There should be no other criteria. No one is worth more than anyone else in human terms.

    If I can brighten someone’s day with a smile or a thank you, that’s good enough. If the people I love and care about are feeling better because of something I said or did, I’m happy with that.

    I’m currently reading “Nickel and Dimed: How (NOT) to get by in America”, and it’s a real eye-opener, especially now that I deliver pizza part-time. Tutoring is slow during the summer when school is out, so I have to have a second job. The book is about the late 1990’s when the Clinton Administration changed the safety net system of welfare for the poor. The paradigm was/is that any job is better then government assistance, even though we all pay into programs to help those less fortunate than we are.

    The most current iteration of anyone accepting assistance is certain GOP Senators are disrespecting the unemployed who receive unemployment benefits in an economy that barely avoided a second Great Depression, and we’re not out of the woods yet. Certain Senators want to cut off unemployment benefits to those who have been unemployed longer than the average, and they want to subject them to drug tests to keep getting benefits. I think if they want the drug testing done, they should have to pay for it out of their own pockets. Drug tests are expensive.

    These politicians seem to have forgotten who pays them, and that unemployment benefits are designed to help replace your previous income to some reasonable extent. Some politicians want to cut off benefits and make people go out and get minimum wage jobs. I would love to inform them of just how impossible it is to live on the minimum wage, even with every benefit the government offers if you have a job and are poor. If you live alone and have no one to support, minimum wage is barely above the poverty line. If you have anyone to support, minimum wage is below the poverty line. Your unemployment benefits are far greater and based on the job you were laid off from.

    I’ve learned during my recent activities in pizza delivery that you check your brain at the door and work the rest of your body to exhaustion until your shift is over. If you are lucky enough to be a driver, you make lots of extra money because they pay per delivery trip you make and you make tips. If you’re good, you make lots of runs and collect lots of tips. My tips literally double what I make in my paychecks.

    If you work in the store only, you’re screwed. You make $7.25/hr with no breaks except you can go to the bathroom and get a drink out of the machine when you need it. But you better get really busy as soon as you’re out of the bathroom or your drink has hit the tray so you can grab it. There is no place to sit because you will not sit.

    Smokers take smoke breaks, which I resent because I don’t smoke so I wouldn’t get a break at all if I worked in store. It is a relief to go out on a run in my car, listen to my current audio book, and sip or guzzle whatever I brought from home. I freeze water in used 20 oz Pepsi bottles so it stays cold, and I live around the block from the store I work at, so if I need a refill, I stop off for a few minutes on my way back from a run when I’m going by the house. If I’m in a hurry, I have my son meet me at the street with whatever I need so I can grab it and go.

    The thing that surprises me so much is that those of us who work in minimum wage jobs are treated like children and watched like them, and the public in general doesn’t really see us. We are non-persons. You know who the best tippers are? Those who work in food service and know how much work goes on behind the scenes for your pizza to arrive at your door fresh and hot, or for your meal to arrive at your restaurant table in the same condition.

    Other jobs nobody seems to notice are filled by human beings are maids, child care workers, restaurant cooks, grocery store employees, those who do the hardest work of taking care of the elderly at nursing homes, etc. Think of a job you don’t do for yourself, like cleaning your house, and consider the worker’s pay, working conditions, no sick leave, no vacation, back-breaking work with no health care, and having to put up with being treated like dirt by those who get paid a lot more than you make to watch you. Freelance housekeepers, like freelance yard people, make a lot more money than those who work for a service. They do a lot better work than those who work for a service, too, because the service is designed to “give the appearance of” rather than actually accomplish the task of thoroughly mowing your yard or cleaning your house.

    I’m fortunate to have a good manager who works right beside us doing everything we do and coworkers who look out for each other and pitch in and help when you’re behind on a task. But if I had to depend on this kind of job for my entire livelihood and had no other options (like the benefit of a college degree) I would not be a blogger, and I would look a lot older than my 49 years instead of a lot younger. I’m thankful I am looking at this from a perspective with options and not as a dead-end way of life I have to submit to every day until I die.

    If you have a Papa John’s as a pizza choice in your area, I recommend it. We actually do keep the store very clean, the dishes are washed properly and sanitized, the make line is rotated and checked for freshness twice a day, and the ingredients are fresh and dated for disposal if not used within the time allotted. We always throw out things that have expired. Other chains don’t always do that. My sister once worked at pizza hut, and she said not to eat anything from their except the pan pizza because the pans go through the oven. Nothing was washed or at least not washed properly. Almost everyone I know who works or worked in food service doesn’t eat out. They know the condition of the kitchens they worked in, and are afraid. I eat at Papa John’s and I’m not concerned with getting sick from the food in any way.

    I can understand why the poor stay poor. They are not valued by society even though they do a huge amount of very hard work to make the higher classes’ lives comfortable and help provide them with free time. They are actually disdained by the very society that depends on them. They work harder than any middle to upper-middle class professional I have ever met or have ever been myself.

    So the next time you are in a setting where someone else does the hard work of cleaning and cooking, or cleaning up after children and disabled elderly, take a moment to ask them how they are and at least acknowledge that they are people. A generous tip wouldn’t hurt either. They really need the money, believe me.

    I’m sorry to have gone off on such a tangent. But society needs to stop asking what we do and judging us about it, and start valuing each person for their very existence. No one should be disdained or invisible.

    .-= Sherri–Hurricane Katrina Pictures´s last blog ..Why Wetlands Are So Important =-.

  8. Hi Debbie,

    Great question! I think that happiness and productivity aren’t mutually exclusive; just because one is happy doesn’t mean that he cannot be productive. I think that’s the reason why most successful people are the ones who pursue their passion; being happy results in productivity.
    .-= Dawn @ Intimacy in Marriage´s last blog ..Tips to Resolving Intimacy Problems in Your Relationship =-.

    • Hi Dawn,
      You are right when you say, “being happy results in productivity.” The question I like to ask people if they are being productive because society tells them to be or because it makes them happy? If one is doing something that makes them happy which in turn makes the productive great. But what if they are just being productive , because they think it will make them happy in the future.
      Am I right in saying that productivity is wonderful as long as you are doing it because it makes you happy not because of what people want you to do?

  9. What a beneficial publication !!

    • Thank you very much. I appreciate that.

  10. Claudine Farner says:

    Why didnt I think of this? I hear specifically what youre saying and Im so satisfied that I came across your weblog. You actually know what youre referring to, and you created me feel like I really should understand far more about this. Many thanks for this; Im officially a massive fan of the website.

    • Hi Claudine,
      I am pleased that you understand what I am saying. We all need to do what we want to do for happiness and not worry about whether the world thinks we are productive.
      To your happiness,

  11. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

    • Thank you very much for the support. I thought I was more popular, but I’ll keep trying.
      Thanks again and may happiness always be there for you.

    • What makes you think I am not popular? All good things take time and I am doing pretty darn good. I can’t complain about a thing. And yes, I do know what I am talking about.
      To your happiness,

  12. Please tell me it worked right? I dont want to sumit it again if i do not have to! Either the blog glitced out or i am an idiot, the second option doesnt surprise me lol. thanks for a great blog!

    • You are welcome. Sometimes i have a little trouble with the technical stuff. No Worries

  13. Great site and nice text.

    • I am very pleased that you liked the site and text.
      thank you have a very happy day,

    • Thank you very much and have a very happy day.

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    • You are very welcome. It does make for my happiness within when it comes to your kind words.
      To your happiness,

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    • Hi Johnna,

      Thanks very much.I really have a great job doing the blogging and writing, but I really appreciate you thinking of me. That is what the world is about, helping each other. Thanks very much.
      May you always choose to be happy,

  16. Jamie Kataoka says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write that, I found it very detailed. If you get a chance you should visit my blog as well. I hope you have a nice day!

    • Thanks Jamie,
      Glad you liked the detail. I already have this job of blogging and it is doing great however I shall post your comment, because there are some people that may be in need of it. I am here to help, so if your link can help that would be great.
      You have a great day and may you be blessed with happiness.

  17. I hope you have a nice day! Very good article, well written and very thought out. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts in the future.

    • Thank you Jere. I’ll keep those articles coming and may you have a very nice wonderful happy day.

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