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Productivity, Contributions, and Self-Doubt

I am constantly nagged by questions of a self-centered nature. Questions of self-doubt.

Questions such as: “Am I productive?” and  “Have I contributed anything?

The answers I find inside myself are “Well, in a way” and “Even if I have, I could… I should… do so much more“.

I want to be productive, and I want to contribute something of value to the future, or maybe even to the present. I know that my beliefs as to what I have (or have not) produced and contributed may not be based in reality. My opinions about what I have accomplished may be off-base. My perspective is too narrow.

What I “produce” may or may not have value. That’s not for me to decide. Could I produce more? Sure. The thing holding me back most is that I don’t usually know which direction to focus my energy in. I’m not only talking about advocating and defending liberty– although that’s definitely a big part of it. I am uncomfortable focusing too tightly on any one tiny spot more than temporarily, and I always have been. I have too many interests in too many different areas.

And, as for what I have contributed, what will its value turn out to be, if any? I won’t know. If the good ideas I have helped spread continue into the future, regardless of who they end up being attributed to, I would feel I have made a valuable contribution, even if no one else does. But that’s not something I can ever know in my lifetime. So I have to keep going, blindly, doing my very best to go in only the right direction.

I will never be enough to satisfy myself. I know that. Self doubt is a terrible thing, but I suppose the alternative is arrogance (which I am sometimes accused of anyway). I know many of my faults. I know I probably have many more I can’t see. I hope what I produce and contribute is enough to help pay restitution for my faults and flaws.

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Kent McManigal

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