Cultivating A Productive Mindset

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Most of us stop at having a cultivated mind. We are experts at thinking things through. We enjoy turning things over in our mind. But not all of this leads to any productive output. There's also the productive mindset. The mindset that generates results.

How do you cultivate the productive mindset?

It is by having output-pegged goals. Goals that when achieved results in tangible output. Here's a good illustration. Say I want to become a C# programmer (which is coincidentally true). I can set a goal in three different ways:

  • Way 1: By December 2016 I will be a professional C# programmer
  • Way 2: I will read one C# book a month and take online classes
  • Way 3: By December 2016 I will be creating C# programs especially the stock analysis app I have always talked about, and doing monthly classes to get there.
And here are the subtle but significant differences between the three ways. Way 1 is what most of us do. We want to achieve a goal and we simply fix a deadline to achieving it. Way 2 is much better, it involves making smaller trackable goals towards achieving the main goal (doing monthly reading and taking online classes). Way 3 is the best as it focuses more on output, what I originally wanted to do with the C# skills, and merges the Way 2 benefit of breaking it down to monthly goals.

That is how you cultivate a productive mindset. You convert as many of your goals as you possibly can to output oriented goals. You don't stop at acquiring and internalizing; you generate. You go from thoughts to actions to output. 

This is because in the end, it doesn't matter how much you know; it doesn't matter what grand plans you have; it doesn't matter what you are about to do; and it doesn't matter what great thoughts you occupied your mind with; the only thing that matters in the end is what you actually did. It is your output that matters. That is what can create a legacy for you (if that's what you most like). At the least, the only way people can accurately estimate your value is by your output (not your thoughts and plans). And the only way you can create the type of influence you desire is by generating outputs that will achieve that. And when you have a productive mindset, it makes it natural for you to be prodigiously creative. You always make something tangible and valuable out of everything you have.


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