Monday, September 6, 2010

Fighting the winds

As important as it is to begin a project all the effort we put in to starting is wasted if we do not finish. Just as it can be hard to start it can also be hard to keep going. Moving forward on any project can be like walking in to a wind storm. The gales of boring routine blow us, the zephyrs of new ideas carry us away and the cyclones of doubt drown us in hopelessness.

Routine is a tool we must become comfortable with if we are going to change our lives. Habits are self perpetrating constructions of will power. Think of them as little robots that do what they are programmed to do. To program these robots we need to show them what must be done over and over until they do it on their own, until we do it without thinking about it. To create these habits we need to be persistent and consistent in fallowing the routine we want to have as habit in our lives. Willpower is the way to avoid the gales, put our head down and push forward. Once we have created the habit we can stop pushing and let the robot do the work for us.

New good ideas seem to raise their head at just the moment we become disillusioned with the current task. However we only have so much energy and the temptation to start something new in the middle of an ongoing project is the worst possible way to squander that energy. The benefits from the energy we have expended in starting are not realized lest we finish. We do not get the scents of accomplishment or the reward of change in our lives if we leave projects half finished scattered along the path behind us. New ideas are good, next steps are good so we must find some way to save them. A note book or computer file that lists other projects you want to work on is a great tool. It can even be a motivator to finish. If we know what our next action is going to be we can move swiftly from one project to another. If we have a place to store the ideas for those projects we can find them quickly and avoid starting them as they occur in order not to forget them.

Hopeless can knock us to the ground and pin us there we need to find the strength to stand up. The falling is not what we should worry about we all fall we all slip and we all land our ass from time to time. When we do what keeps us down is not the fall we have just taken but the fear of the next fall. All the falls will we take will be inconsequential as long as the number of time we stand is greater. What is important is to not dwell on the failure or how hard the thing we are doing is but instead to focus on the goal. We need to know we are working on something that is worthwhile and yes it may be hard there may be no light in sight but we keep working. The cyclones may come and pick us up off our feat and we can lay on the ground and cry or we can charge them laughing.

Editing project: The hard truths of self improvement


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