A wisdom tradition associated with personal growth and insight is now being absorbed by our culture as a tool for career development and efficiency.
Is Something Lost When We Use Mindfulness as a Productivity Tool?
by Charlotte Lieberman
I came to mindfulness as a healing practice after overcoming an addiction to Adderall during my junior year of college. I found myself in this situation because I thought that using Adderall to help me focus was no big deal — an attitude shared by 81% of students nationwide.
Adderall simply seemed like an innocuous shortcut to getting things done – and to do so efficiently yet effortlessly. I still remember the rush I felt my first night on Adderall: I completed every page of assigned Faulkner reading (not easy), started and finished a paper several weeks before the due date (because why not?), Swiffered my room (twice) and answered all of my unread emails (even the irrelevant ones). It’s also probably worth noting that I had forgotten to eat all night, and somehow found myself still awake at 4 a.m., my jaw clenched and my stomach rumbling. Sleep was nowhere in sight.
What I saw initially as shortcut to more focus and productivity ultimately turned out instead to be a long detour toward self-destruction. Rather than thinking of focus as the byproduct of my own power and capability, I looked outside of myself, thinking that a pill would solve my problems.