There are different modes of “work”. Here are a few of them.
- Introspection. Finding yourself.
- Exploration. Finding everything else.
- Goal-making. Based on values found during introspection.
- Strategy-making. Hypotheses about how to achieve your goals.
- Experimentation. Trying things. Playing. Iterating.
- Finding fit. Person/universe fit.
- Slogging. Executing. Doing the work.
An industry of self-help, productivity gurus, and therapists has sprouted around each of these modes of work. Much to their benefit.
Each of these modes require different parts of our brains. Different brainwave lengths. Different moods. Different states of mind.
Each of us excel at certain modes and suck at others.
Each mode is strongest when the others are also at their strongest. We must develop each of these modes in parallel. It’s all one big positive feedback loop / Catch-22 / bootstrap.
Do all of these in parallel: Find yourself, explore the universe, make goals, devise strategies, experiment with tactics, find a fit, slog.— Buster (@buster) February 20, 2013
Neglecting one mode will indirectly cause other modes to suffer.
The first six modes are inputs.
The last mode is the only true output.
We’ll be judged in the world by our output. Therefore, some people place a lot of emphasis on the 7th mode (see pg’s schlep post for a masterful articulation). It’s the fruit of your labor. But the labor itself is actually not the slog. 10,000 hours go into preparing for the slog. The slog without preparation is chasing after the wind. The slog with preparation is flow.
You can’t express until you’ve explored. The best way to explore is to begin expressing.
The long slog, the thing that feels like way too much painful effort in the beginning becomes the only reward.