How to Change 3 Mindsets that Kill Your Productivity

by Craig McBreen · 31 comments · Breaking out

How-to-Change-3-Mindsets-that-Kill-Your ProductivityThe Dreamer

When I was a kid I told everyone I was going to be a movie producer like Dino De Laurentiis.

How did I prepare for Hollywood? I watched Dino’s King Kong (the 1976 version) about 10 times. I devoured every new issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland, and I daydreamed about Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion dinosaurs, skeletons and centaurs.

I didn’t save my money (or even ask) for a Super 8 camera, write scripts or even model my own clay monsters.


The Philosopher

Ever heard of Ralph Waldo Emerson? He once wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

To me that means boilerplate consistency violates your innate creativity – the genius inside. And if your plan is to cling to the familiar, well, that’s when you tread water.

I was never smart enough (or well-read enough) to run around quoting philosophers, but I now know, thanks to Ralph, that for creativity to flourish you must get your ass off the sofa.

Do you want to look back at what you didn’t do and blame it all on your under-appreciated creative genius, occupied with busywork?

The clever, but lazy devil with the ass print in the La-Z-Boy? The boilerplate fellow who clings the the familiar because he’s afraid? The guy who can think of a thousand reasons for NOT doing something?

The No Show

I had a master-storyteller friend, full of promises and short on delivery. Gifted at getting people excited, but challenged when it came to follow-through.

Around 1998 he convinced me that my young company would do all the branding for his hatchling software business. They needed a brand, collateral, advertising, etc., and I was his guy.

Several thousand dollars into the job, I lost touch with Jeff. He never returned my calls or emails, and he never paid me.

Later I discovered his bullshit was aided by a drug-addled state and he wasn’t even considered an equal partner in the business.

This is all water under the bridge, because I’m perfect and don’t hold grudges. I’m kidding. I wanted to kill him at the time, when my business was starting and struggling, but time heals all.

Here’s the thing … the combination of little fibs plus no follow-through compacted over time, accumulate into a Kong-sized snowball that WILL annihilate you (I think Jeff is still recovering).

To avoid annihilation you must work to kill the devil inside, daily. The creative do-nothing who philosophizes all day, is full of hot air, and never completes a task.

Yeah, THAT guy.

He continually fogs your landscape with big dreams and false promises.

How do you stab him through the heart?

Well think about it: A “foolish consistency” is doing the same thing you’ve been doing.

And to be 100% honest I’ve been the biggest fool of all, because I let the devil control me for so long. Many days of my life I looked back and realized how I was duped, swindled and beaten like a bad dog, only to do the same ol’ same ol’ the next day.

A wise and productive consistency?

Slap that grand visionary upside the head and make him figure out the next step.

Find strength by dispatching your inner-gremlin. The creep who pokes you with a fear stick and whispers angst-ridden nothings in your ear.

Kill the bisnitch who promises all day but never shows up.

The Dreamer
I’ve dreamt up a new site and it’s going live in January. If you are the least bit interested, stay tuned or sign-up below. There’s way more coming and it’s all about you, yes you … breaking out in your own little way.

The Philosopher
In James Altucher’s Choose Yourself I read this: “The learned man aims for more. But the wise man decreases. And then decreases again.”

And to me, killing dead weight is not just about material possessions. Overthinking every damn thing — over-philosophizing rooted in fear — can become the heaviest burden of all.

The No Show
I’m putting this clown to the knife. I’m showing up on January 6th with a little red eBook.

2014 will go down as the year I reined in the dreamer, axed the dead weight and killed Mr. No Show.

How about you?

Sign-up Today to Get Your FREE eBook.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie November 25, 2013 at 8:25 am

Looking forward to your new stuff, Craig! :)
Jamie recently posted..The (magical) power of delightMy Profile


Craig McBreen November 25, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Hey Jamie,

Thanks! 2014 is almost here :)


Joe November 25, 2013 at 9:14 am

This is some inspired piece of writing, Mr. McBreen. Safe to say we can all look in the mirror and see the dreamer and the no-show in our lives, if not now, then in the past for sure.

Beating them is a daily process. Thanks for this!
Joe recently posted..Promise And Pain: The Year Of The UnforgettableMy Profile


Craig McBreen November 25, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Hey Joe,

Thanks, yes we all can, for sure. I give myself a daily beating ;)


Rob Skidmore November 25, 2013 at 9:52 am

Great stuff Craig. I think we all have a little bit of each of these mindsets.

The biggest mindset that kills my productivity is what I call “The Idea Bouncer.” It’s what happens whenever I have a shiny and new idea for something and I suddenly stop working on whatever I was doing to pursue the new project. Then when I get a little way into it I have another great new idea and the process continues leaving behind a slew of half finished things strewn about the office and the interwebz.

I’d say it’s the curse of the serial entrepreneur except that I think you have to actually finish something to call yourself an entrepreneur. :-)

Luckily I’ve managed to gain control of myself and focus on one thing. All the shiny new ideas go into my idea book and I keep plugging away on whatever I was doing.

Sadly I know a few others in the startup community around me who are still like this. I want to sit them down and say “look you have great ideas but you will never get anywhere unless you pick one.”

Anyway, always enjoy your thoughts. Can’t wait to see all the stuff you dream up.


Craig McBreen November 25, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Hi Rob,

Thank you, Sir!

“The Idea Bouncer,” huh? I like that. I’ve wasted days doing this too. It’s easy to come up with ideas, but figuring out steps 2, 3 … is the tough stuff!

Sounds like you have a good system in place. I keep a set of old school manilla folders and review them 2-3 times a week. Only writing down ideas in the am, and keep whittling and refining.

Maybe you can counsel some of these people and get them to focus! :) Thanks for the comments and hope all is well in your world.


Mary Stephenson November 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Hi Craig

Too bad we didn’t have all this insight and knowledge when we were 12! Can you imagine how brilliant we could have been. I am always amazed at these young kid geniuses that have known what they wanted to be from by the time they could communicate. Whatever happened to us, other than being a dreamer and growing up?

Productivity is a powerful word when we are not doing it and seems hard to stay focused and conquer the dragon that lurks in our own minds. Been reading a lot about mindset lately and it is something that definitely needs to change in order to move forward and achieve.

Looking forward to your new website launch.

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Craig McBreen November 25, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Hi Mary,

Oh, man, if I could only go back … never mind, not sure I want to go through middle school again ;) It is amazing when someone so young has it figured out though.

Staying focused is not so hard if you create some kind of routine and stick to it, esp. in the a.m. Sets the tone for the day.

Thanks! Looking forward to 2014 myself.


Jeevan Jacob John November 25, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Awesome, Craig :)

Good luck with the little red eBook ;)

Over-thinking. I do that a lot, but not about the daily life, though. I over think about the metaphysical questions..why am I here? Am I really a human? Are we alone in this universe? What is right, what is wrong, what is justice..what is revenge and so forth.

I do hate doing it (it’s like a part of brain is just devoted to answering those questions. Everyday I ask the questions a little differently, and I get different answers, an improvement over the previous day’s answer).

Dreaming is indeed important, but we need to take action based on our dreams. So, many people in this world stop pursuing their dreams, they give in to the expectations of the just get a degree (to me, a degree is just a worthless piece of paper. What matters is what we learn..and learn to apply what we learned).

Anyways, thanks for the post, Craig ;) Appreciate the examples too :D


Craig McBreen November 25, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Hi Jeevan,

Thank you! Getting there.

You just gave me a case of existential angst ;)

Then you get to the argument between materialists and idealist, being and thinking, etc., etc. Can drive you slightly crazy, right?

You are so right about people giving into expectations and I think your argument about a worthless piece of paper is being validated right now, with so many graduates unable to find work.

Glad you liked it. Thanks for the thoughtful comments, as always.


Jeevan Jacob John November 29, 2013 at 6:16 am

Yes ;)

I like to think that I am already crazy (Just try explaining our lives and routines to someone from 1900s – we will realize how crazy it truly is).

Yeah, I think the problem is because most people go for same field (specializing in the “sub-field” with most growth). But, as the number of graduates looking for the same work increases (supply), the demand goes down (Perhaps we could solve this issue by encouraging students to pursue their real dreams..instead of giving into the expectations of the society and our friends/family. I know that our friends/family wants the best for us. But, ultimately, it is our life).

Of course, the education system should also improve..encourage students to dream beyond being a rock star.

No mention. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving :D


Craig McBreen December 1, 2013 at 11:42 am

Great points and the educational system will HAVE to change.

It was nice to kick back this weekend. Hope you had a good one too!


Tim Bonner November 29, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Hi Craig

A long time ago I thought I was going to be a musician.

At least that was what my life was all about until I left University in my early twenties and reality hit home.

Life shouldn’t be about what-ifs but that’s one I regret. I didn’t follow a dream.

I do have a tendency to procrastinate during the day. I can only work in short bursts though in between daddy duties so hopefully I can be excused a little lack of concentration every now and again!

I can probably think of 1,000 reasons not to do something though so I’m guilty of that. Need to get out of that mindset and fast.

I wouldn’t consider myself a no-show though. I usually get to the party early, although sometimes I may be a little late if little people get in the way of my better intentions.

You always give me something to think about Mr McBreen and I applaud you for it!

Have a great weekend and I’m sorry I’ve not been around for quite some time.

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Craig McBreen December 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Hi Tim,

I think we all process those “what ifs” daily. But living in the moment and learning to be grateful for what you have helps, me thinks.

I just want to drop-kick the inner-gremlin(s) described above ;) I think a daily practice of good habits (to fight off the bad ones) is key.

No apology necessary! I appreciate the thoughtful comments.


Maxwell Ivey November 30, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Hello; thanks for sharing your experiences and inviting us to come along on your journey now that you have finally left on it yourself. am looking forward to the ebook. will it be in pdf or some .txt format? am a blind computer user so would love anything but pdf. smile I recently almost decided not to work with a fellow because of fear. the fear came from a seller who refused to pay me after i made the biggest sale in my company’s history. I have been more cautious and more insistent on agreements in writing. i refused to start work on a project until i got the written confirmation of our agreement. then a few days ago i finally started promoting his item a family entertainment center in california. i have already had four emails on it and one is a serious buyer for sure. and several of the eqnquiries came from people who are in the market. my contact says he has two or three more such f e c’s. for us to sell together. he also says he has an advertiser that wants to speak to me. I almost refused this opportunity all together out of the feeling of it is too good to be true. then drug my feet out of fear. so i am moving ahead. hoping to finish my 2013 strong and then rock in to 2014 like one direction on their world tour. thanks again and take care, max
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Craig McBreen December 1, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Hi Maxwell,

You’re welcome and glad you got something out of it. The plan is pdf only, but it shouldn’t be to difficult to create a txt format … something I did not consider, so thanks for bringing this up. I should explore the options.

I’ve been burned in the past so completely understand that type of fear. Nothing wrong with approaching such a serious business deal in a cautious way … I’ll be honest, over the past 10 years or so I’ve really loosened up, but part of this is because I’m better at screening … years of experience is good for something, right? ;)

Thanks, Sir. I certainly hope you rock it in 2014!


Akaahan Terungwa December 1, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Hello Craig,

I ruthlessly go with only what works for me…I may be a dream today – and damn, I’ll be a philosopher on the morrow.

I believe, nothing kills faster than foolish consistency. My duty is to get the job done. Simple!

- Terungwa
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Craig McBreen December 4, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Hi Akaahan,

Foolish consistency will do you in ;) I know, I was clinging to the familiar for years.

Thanks for stopping in, Sir!


Tom Southern December 2, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Now that I’m a lot further along the road that is my life I can look back on it and see all the times The Dreamer, The Philosopher, the No-Show and yeah, That Guy, popped up to entice and persuade me off on various schemes, disappointments and bull-sh*t offers Pied-Piper like.

Only now, with the grizzled and dusty wisdom of the long distance traveller, I’m beginning to realise that The Dreamer, Philosopher, No-Show and OH yeah, that guy, are one of the same. They look familiar too. Perhaps a little too familiar. It’s like looking in the mirror …

Here’s to new years and new ventures.

Best wishes for yours.


Craig McBreen December 3, 2013 at 7:55 am

Hi Tom,

“Only now, with the grizzled and dusty wisdom of the long distance traveller, I’m beginning to realise that The Dreamer, Philosopher, No-Show and OH yeah, that guy, are one of the same. They look familiar too. Perhaps a little too familiar. It’s like looking in the mirror …”

What can I say? … I love this! So true and cheers to the grizzled travellers and new adventures :)


Sheree Martin December 2, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Love this, Craig.

My productivity killer, overall, has been built on the belief that if I work hard and do good my efforts will automatically be recognized and I’ll be rewarded by someone else.

I finally realized this year that hard work has little relationship to success. Work is necessary for success, but working hard today for someone else gets you, at best, a pat on the back and a 1 or 2% raise. 15 years ago, working hard for someone else got you a thanks and maybe a 5, sometimes 10% raise, and a promotion.

So my mission for 2014 is to focus on building a business and a life for myself.

Can’t wait to read your book.
Sheree Martin recently posted..What Is Wealth?My Profile


Craig McBreen December 3, 2013 at 7:53 am

Hi Sheree,

Thank you. Great point and one of the main reasons we all tread along.

Don’t spin your wheels … Work smart and let out that creativity. After all, we are all renaissance men and women (what the new age needs). Simply opening ourselves up to our innate creativity could lead to some pretty amazing stuff.


Adrienne December 3, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Damn all that crap we have to go through to learn stuff right Craig! I mean we’re dreamers with big hearts and we listen to the people we believe are our friends. Only to be duped later on, well that definitely sucks big time and I feel for you my friend.

I know what you mean about spinning your wheels doing the same thing expecting different results. I remember when I started this internet journey I was told by the “gurus” (God how I hate that darn label) that you have to stick with it for at least six to eight months before you’ll get the desired results. Really! That long and then what happens if you’re doing the work and you end up not getting the results! Well my friend you just wasted that many months of your life and probably a heck of a lot of money. Damn, that was my story for way too long. Can you say loser!

I’m excited about your new blog Craig and can’t wait to see what it’s all about. I can’t believe you’re taking on another project, double the work. You’re very brave my friend.

Thanks for this kick in the pants for us too cause you know it worked! ;-)

Have a great week.

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Craig McBreen December 4, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Hi Adrienne,

Indeed! ;) Thanks, and me days of being duped are over. Hope yours are too.

Yes, those “gurus” can lead you atray, right?

Well, the new blog is something I’m very excited about and it will be a bit of a departure … double the work, but double the fun :)

Thanks for the visit!


Kosio Angelov December 8, 2013 at 7:18 am

Great article Craig!

I have to agree with Rob Skidmore and the “Idea Bouncer”. That is one of the biggest killers for me. I have a different name for it, The Shiny Object Syndrome, but the idea behind is the same, getting distracted by a newer and, of course, at the time, better, idea over and over again.

I guess it is just part of the entrepreneurial experience, but it is something to pay attention to.


Craig McBreen December 8, 2013 at 11:30 am

Hi Kosio,

Thanks! Those shiny objects are productivity killers for sure. A good practice is to write down in detail what you actually do on any day … that’s a good way to find out how the time wasters (often shiny objects) kill your day.

Thanks for popping in.


Ralph December 8, 2013 at 4:37 pm


I am a dreamer.
Waxing poetic is my forte.
And apparently the Aquarian in me is prone to be a no show.

Feeling doomed……

Naaaaa, it’s all good. I agree with Rob up there. I think we all have the three traits in us. For me, it’s looking for the positive side of each and workin’ dose to the best of ma abeelitay.

Cheers Bro.
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Craig McBreen December 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm


I believe you’re a dreamer, but a no-show, c’mon ;)

I think we all have these buggers in us as well, and like you say, just say “abeelitay” in a Cartman-like fashion and get on with it.

Thanks for the visit.


Micah December 12, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Love this! I can recognise myself best in the dreamer I think. Snapping out of my private little reveries to get down to business is often something I have to consciously make myself do. I’m getting better at it though. Slowly.
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Craig McBreen December 12, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Hi Michah,


Heck, I’m a dreamer and a daydreamer … I guess we all have a little Walter Mitty in all of us. Getting down to business can be a struggle. Have to constantly snap myself out of that dream state.

Really appreciate the comments, Sir!


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