Cal Newport — How to Embrace Slow Productivity, Build a Deep Life, Achieve Mastery, and Defend Your Time

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One of the dominant reactions to burnout right now is an all-out rejection of work itself, like, "well, any drive to do things, it’s a capitalist construction, and the real thing to do is just do nothing", but that doesn’t last.

And the people who are telling you to do this are not doing nothing. They’re striving really hard to make sure that their Substacks and books about doing nothing are going to have a really big audience and they’re giving talks on it.

You can’t just focus on the "doing less" part, you need the "obsess over quality" part, and that’s where you’re able to still fulfill the human drive to create, and that’s where you still build the leverage to control your life and make a living.

As someone who has been unemployed for nearly five months now, I can assure you that the “doing less” part sucks.

I don’t want to do less.

I just want to be able to go through my waking hours making something which will make society a nicer place to live for everybody.

Then, I want to go to sleep at night knowing I inflicted the least amount of harm on as many living things as possible.

Why are those goals so difficult to strive for?

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