Hagakure Kikigaki “Hidden by the Leaves”
The Hagakure is a spiritual & practical guide written for samurai. It is a written collection of commentaries by Yamamoto Tsunetomo and deals with the bushido or the warrior code of the samurai.
While at first glace you may be wondering what does this have to do with productivity? A great deal in fact as there are lessons within the bushido that are equally applicable to the art of productivity. Samurai had a tendency to be very resolute when making decisions and they worried very little about consequences, should any arise they would address them at that time. There is a great deal to be gained for people who are looking to become more productive within that concept. Next time you are working and have come to a point where a decision needs to be made and you have a good solid solution, execute it. Bear in mind that if you are making decisions that aren’t within your rights to make, there may be a negative outcome. However, there may not be any outcome at all other than you having solved the problem and moved forward with your work.
“In the words of the ancients, one should make his decisions within the space of seven breaths. Lord Takanobu said, “If discrimination is long, it will spoil. ” Lord Naoshige said, “When matters are done leisurely, seven out of ten will turn out badly. A warrior is a person who does things quickly.” When your mind is going hither and thither, discrimination will never be brought to a conclusion. With an intense, fresh and undelaying spirit, one will make his judgments within the space of seven breaths. It is a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break right through to the other side.”
One of the biggest issues I seem to work with is a lack of resoluteness in making decisions. Clients tend to over think the decision and want to talk about it, this leads to nothing ever actually getting done in a timely manner. This is partly to blame on changes in our social culture where everything needs to be a discussion, generally lengthy ones as well. But, constantly doing this is actually destroying productivity. So is there a way to change this for ourselves? Certainly there is! Give consideration to trying the 7 breath technique the next time you need to make a larger decision. If you are unable to come to a course of action within that span of time, set it to the side and come back to it later on. Taking that break from thinking about it may give you the mental space needed to come up with a solution and help you move forward!
Single-mindedness is all powerful.
Allowing your focus to be fractured may be the single biggest killer of productivity and I have addressed it previously with topics on time management. “Single-mindedness is all powerful,” what does this mean to you?Despite the obviousness of the statement, for many it is not a simple question to answer. Take comfort in that you do not need the same focus that samurai had in combat! No, instead what you need is the conviction to step back and say to yourself “This is what I am working on right now, I will have no distractions.” and stick to it! I have learned to consider myself and my work habits to be similar to bamboo. Strong but flexible and the most important element, the knowledge of which one to be and when.
“There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment. A man’s whole life is a succession of moment after moment. There will be nothing else to do, and nothing else to pursue. Live being true to the single purpose of the moment.”
This final quote really exemplifies the mental attitude you should have when focusing on productivity, as well as embodies the ideas of the previous quotes. To be able to clear ones mind entirely of the minutia of life while working on a specific task is a goal I have to reach. For the most part I am fairly focused but, once I feel my mind wonder, I have to take a break for a little while. Even if I just get up and get a bit of fruit, that break allows me to come back and refocus my mind on tasks.