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How to Boost Growth in Your Life

How to Boost Growth in Your Life

Ever experienced a feeling of dissatisfaction, a general unease that you just can’t define? Most people describe this as “I just feel stuck”―they feel like they’re going nowhere, lacking progress and purpose, and they don’t know how to get out of it. They mooch into every day wondering if something will change: in effect, waiting for a metaphorical knight in shining armour to sweep in and kick things around a bit.

If you’re one of these people, the problem is you’ll be waiting a while if you’re relying on someone or something outside of yourself to fix the problem. Externalising the solution is the most common fault of people wanting to change. Changing jobs, taking a big holiday, getting a new hairdo or a new wardrobe―all of these are temporary “band aids”. They won’t hold the stuck feeling at bay for long.

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Small steps reap big rewards: you don’t have to overhaul your whole life to get moving. There is no “one big magic answer”. Work holistically, and start with small changes and small focuses across the board, and you’ll soon gain momentum. Here are 4 things you should know to boost growth in your life.

Make a decision… ANY decision!

Understand that you have to make a decision to do or achieve something. It sounds strange to say something so simple, but most people are just making “wish-lists”. They would like change to happen but they haven’t really decided to make it happen yet. A true decision is in concrete ‒ once made, it cannot be backed away from. It’s a serious thing to make a real decision and you need to do some serious thinking before you make one. Otherwise you’re just wishing.

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Your body is the bedrock of progress.

You can’t shoot forward into the future like an unstoppable rocket if your health is dragging you back every inch of the way. Your body has innate wisdom to run your health perfectly….if you get out of its way.

While you load your body with toxins inside and out, you cannot operate at peak performance. Start educating yourself about food, cleaners, toiletries, and cosmetics. Question what you’ve always been told, listen to your body. You don’t have to go on a massive diet or lifestyle change, just learn a little every day, swap a little every day. And don’t forget to celebrate every small win.

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You’re No.1!

Practice prioritising and valuing yourself before others. This is hard for a lot of people, especially mums, or people used to nurturing and supporting everyone else before themselves.

To move forward you need to prove to yourself that you are worth the effort. We do this by our small actions every day: they count. Start to act and speak in ways that tell YOU that you are No.1 and worth the effort, and you’ll automatically start to reach for something better in life.

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Don’t neglect your spirit.

Older civilisations understood better how important it was to feel your place on this earth and work in harmony with its energy and resources. Living consciously, adding value, and contributing to world change, feeling a connection to the earth, nature, and universal energy are all important to how we feel about ourselves.

Ideas and inspiration come from a creative place inside that can only be fully accessed when we are being our true selves and operating within a natural rhythm. Spend time on and with yourself, just being and learning who you are.

Getting forward movement in your life is a holistic process. Stop looking for something to happen to kick-start you. Don’t wait until New Year’s Day. Just work a little…on a lot…all the time. Great change comes in millimetre shifts.

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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