The Friction Point in Productivity

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.   – Gospel of Thomas

This quote is the crux of our existential satisfaction. The work, the toil, the craft of being exactly who we are, for our sake.

Being a sensitive person to me is living life in 1080p and having a graphics card that is not always up to the challenge.

By definition, I tend to absorb such a vast quantity of information on a second by second basis. Then something in my system short circuits and I flatline. 

My vocation, productivity and projects have been the most challenging relationships I’ve ever had. Coming from a childhood with way too much obligation, responsibilities and duties, all of which I grew to resent and rebel from.

A burdensome childhood compounded by a career in feature films has done a number on my nervous system. After a half dozen burn outs in the last couple of decades, all I really care about is sustainability.

Expending energy while also refilling my inner tank is number one on the priority list no matter what I choose to undertake. 

Resisting productivity has seriously impacted all areas of my life. There are well over a dozen people I could have been, lives I could have lived.

Instead, I have spent most of my adulthood up to date dabbling in topics here and there, until my energy fuse blows and then I rest until I find another potentially viable assignment. 

A wide variety of things can set me off when I’m working on something or with someone; lack of integrity, poor systems, toxic power, final overall environmental impact, sustainability and overall quality of life.

This firewall of criteria make it nearly impossible to commit to any kind of work on a long-term basis. I can’t hope but notice the flaws, the micro and macro dynamics.  The fractal patterns that reveal themselves as something is being created into being and there is precious little I can do to un-see the pattern.

On the other hand, I am often asked how I know so much about everything, I’m a pretty typical Jack of all trades, master of a couple…..maybe.

This internal dissonance reminds me of the Ferrari before Lamborghini got it’s hands on it. Let me explain.

Ferrari was always reputed to be an excellent car with an outstanding engine but the clutch was not up to the task. Ferruccio Lamborghini loved his finicky Ferrari so much he  decided to fit it with a more stable clutch, one from his very own tractors.

This is the moment when Ferrari became an unstoppable and timeless force of nature. Ferrari had always been a super car, however until this moment it remained hopelessly unstable. It had the engineering to move through time and space at top speed and drive like no other vehicle before it. BUT, every so often it would stall and flat line.

I often feel like a Ferrari.

Without a doubt, there is much that I have to say and to offer to the world. There are many contributions I desperately want to make. My idea tank is SO full and in stark contrast to my often low and oscillating energy levels.

Ok, so how do I debug my system? How do I stop being the bottleneck in my own life? How do I make better use of all the knowledge I carry? How do I turn the white water rapids of my mind into a manageable free flowing river?

Answer is with the very thing that causes overwhelm; high sensitivity. 

On a moment by moment basis, I aim to monitor myself and my environment very closely. Curate as much of my life as possible. Consciously allowing certain experiences and people in my routines. Diligently running an energy balance sheet before, during and after interaction. In as far as the areas in my control, everything in my life has to feel good.

Noticing all the “should’s” that I carry in the face of being useful and skillful. Noticing the impact on the world around me if the said project reaches completion.

Noticing if I feel a replenishing as I execute. Noticing why I made the initial commitment. Noticing what I am really chasing and expecting through productivity. Noticing the pattern of what interests me and especially noticing the interests that won’t go away and continue to haunt me.

Most importantly, I aim to notice who I will become during this process.

Work is not only bringing something into the world, it’s bringing a new energy into being, and most importantly it’s how I birth an updated and debugged version of myself.

How do you grapple (if at all), in the face of expectation from others and yourself? How do you push through resistance? How do you know when to rest? And how do you know when to push through?

Corina is a self-professed international mutt: Vampire DNA, Canada grown, African heart. Jack of all trades. Polyglot. Observant & introverted. Tries anything twice, except drinking the Cool-aid. In all circumstances, main goal is always to be useful.


  • Tina Hoff

    The older I get, the more I notice how much I cringe when someone else sets out an expectation for me. The expectation can be a subtle as an email at work, or as explicit as my husband saying, “Hey, I need this from you right now.” Like you, I grew up super-responsible, the grown-up in the room by elementary school. Now I’m exhausted, older, aware of my HSP traits, and realizing I have put a lot of this weight on myself. I expect myself to always be the only grown-up in the room, the only one who can DO anything about anything. I am getting better at catching myself in this, but still struggle mightily with allowing myself to rest when I need it instead of always pushing through, telling myself I’ll rest “later, when everything is quieter.” Quieter never comes unless I make it. That’s a harder lesson.

    • Corina Rosca

      Indeed Tina, it’s really something to let go of the ‘do-er’ identity. It can feel wildly uncomfortable for me to not be ‘useful’ and yet when I get the smallest whiff of expectation I can literally feel something inside me shutting down. I’m learning to have conversations with my emotions, most especially when I shut down. To stop, listen, ask questions and really figure out what is under this sudden and potent internal reaction.

      The one thing that has cost me the most in my life is not knowing who I am. That has come up as a by-product of always predicting what others wanted or needed first and foremost. Now that I have removed many of the distractions of external obligations I can really get to the bottom of what I want to do and why. When I am clear and then execute in a way that actually FILLS my tank and feeds my soul and not depleting in any way whatsoever.

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