Posts Tagged ‘productive’

LEGACY 17: The Significance of Productivity

June 2, 2018

My son raised a question about my last blogpost (about Gary M. and NOT FITTING THE MOLD), the question of what my point really was. And reading back through it, I realized I didn’t make that clear. I’ll do that in a later post, but for now I want to go on. I’ve committed to writing a post every day I can possibly manage it, so this is today’s.

Part of posting every day is being productive. And productivity is important to me. It adds significance to my life, makes me feel useful and valued, and in many cases, creates tangible results in other people’s lives. Our company does electrical contracting, and I like being able to look back at accomplishments that are concrete and visible: a Cracker Barrel, a Firestone Auto Care, retrofit lighting in some major buildings in the Greenville SC area (Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Brookwood Church auditorium, a Carolina Handling/Raymond facility, and others), a large generator installation at local assisted living facility (Capstone R&H in Easley), etc.

Personal and business connections are also a way of being productive. I can scroll through my memory and enjoy events, interactions, conversations that have added value. They are too numerous to even try to list—I’m almost 66, and having just completed 25 years full-time in business and 45 years doing electrical work (41 as a master electrician). But having just completed a celebratory event in which I listed a summary of accomplishments, I was surprised at the “long obedience” Nietszche spoke of

The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.

I have to say that the productivity that has resulted from my “long obedience in the same direction” has made MY life worth living. I think it has made others feel the same. I have said many times that my goal is to get to the end of my life, so far as the power lies within me, with everyone feeling that they were better for having known me. There will be exceptions, obviously. Life isn’t perfect. Mistakes happen. But to do the best you can, and do the best you can to correct mistakes, is the best you can do. (Kind of circular, perhaps, but true.)

I told my pastor and his wife a week or so ago that the one thing I would want as my epitaph, to be spoken at a ceremony celebrating my life when I’m gone, is that my life fulfilled the quote by St. Irenaeus: The glory of God is man fully alive. I want to have been fully alive. I want to be fully alive now. I want to continue to be productive until I stop breathing. “Retirement” is an opportunity to be more productive in more ways than I’ve been before.

I like slogans like “Life is good” and “It doesn’t get any better than this” (in the positive sense that “This is great!” rather than the negative “It’s all bad, and it just doesn’t get any better.”).

I want to make people laugh longer and more often, love more deeply and more fully, live more vibrantly and jubilantly. I want to be deep-rooted with good-tasting and abundant fruit. Producing significance in our lives is our calling, our mandate. It can be our greatest joy.

This I want to be my legacy.

Pooping, and Producing

April 9, 2013

My wife just bought a worm factory. Misnomer, if you ask me. It doesn’t manufacture worms. More like a worm farm, like the old ant farms, with the plexiglass walls where you could see them making tunnels and know that wasn’t how you wanted to live. This one isn’t clear—it’s a rust-brown square box made of stackable trays on legs, with a cover. (You can lift one of the trays and watch them clinging for life trying to reach the next level.)

You buy the factory/farm, then the worms separately, depending on your purpose in growing them. Ours is to get them to produce lots of poop and lots more worms, so they can produce even more poop. The poop is for composting in our garden and raised beds, and comes out the bottom at the side through a spigot designed just for that. (Probably more info than you care to know.) You have to feed them mixed “greens” (lettuce, carrots, etc.) and “browns” (coffee grounds, shredded newspaper, etc.), about a 50-50 mix. Supposedly they can multiply from 2,000 to 10,000 in just 16 weeks. (What’s that in a growth index, assuming you can keep the J-curve going? Something like 125,000% in a year?)

But it struck me that this contains a lot of analogies for our lives, and our businesses. We all want to thrive, to eat well, to have the right mix of “greens” (the growing and productive parts) and “browns” (the dying and discarded parts). We want to climb to the next level, not even knowing what that means sometimes, in the dark of unknowing, but still knowing we have to climb. We “poop” and produce—we’re born to both, and hopefully our “poop” makes someone’s garden productive.

Most of all, we serve a purpose not our own. We give our lives for the sake of those we invest in. We find value in our darknesses, and we yearn to go “from glory to glory, in ever increasing glory.” We are meant to, and we find our highest purpose there. Pooping, and producing.