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Many Are Trying to Find Self-Worth through Productivity

After finishing her psychiatry residency, a young doctor was working at a New York City hospital. She was friends with a doctor who was a few years ahead of her and who was pregnant with her second child. The older doctor said to her friend one day, “Do you know what I love most about being pregnant? It’s the only time where I feel productive all the time. Even when I’m sleeping, I’m doing something!”

It struck the young M.D. that her friend based her self-regard so completely on productivity that she seemed relieved to finally find a task she could do incessantly. She reflected, “For many of us, being productive and doing becomes . . . an attempt at redemption. That is, through our work, we try to build our worth, security, and meaning.”

Many people are trying to get a sense of self through productivity and success—but that burns them out.

Tim Keller, Every Good Endeavor, (Penguin Books, 2012), Page 226

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