The key to success traditionally has been to play the long game. If the system is rigged in your favour, that works. If it’s not, then it’s always “jam tomorrow”.
Where does the idea that we can achieve, or should even be aiming for, endless productivity come from? Arguably we’ve been barrelling towards this conclusion for as long as capitalism has existed, but the technological advances of the past few decades have further eroded the barriers around work that stop it seeping into every aspect of our lives. There is a widespread cultural fetishisation of productivity, with overwork framed as a virtue by employers desperate to find ways to motivate a workforce for whom the traditional rewards – a decent salary, pension, job security – often no longer apply.