Tuesday, June 2, 2009
What is the difference between people who decide to do something and do it, and those who try and try, but never seem to finish.
Hell if I know. If I did I would be way more effective as a human being. However, the desire to be the former type of person is forcing me to try new things to reach some sort of productive end.
These are the things are far as I can figure, that are needed:
One, the desire to do whatever it is you’re aiming for. If you asked a six your old to finish their bowl of ice cream, odds are there would be no fight. Ask the same six year old to finish painting a fence; you end up with a Huck Finn situation. When you get older though, you see reasons to paint the proverbial fence. The reasons aren’t always as nice as pure enjoyment, but they’re often enough to get the job done.
Two, remembering the reasons you are doing something. It is easy to remember in the objective way, but the emotional drive is sometimes hard to hold onto. Maybe a certain amount of obsessiveness is useful. Easygoing people are rarely rallying ceaselessly for causes. Reminding yourself of your reasons will make your stomach sit up and take notice, but that’s ok, as long as you get something done. That is just the first stage of the game. When you make a habit of doing the things you have decided to do it gets easier, and your nerves relax and it becomes business as usual.
Three is strength of will. Once you have a reason to do something and remember what it is, you have to just do it. Nike aside, there are always reasons not to. It’s hard and it sucks, but doing what you tell yourself you will do is an amazing thing. When someone else reneges on something, you don’t trust them anymore, and there is a loss of regard. It goes for yourself as well. As Plato says, “The first and best victory is to conquer self; to be conquered by self is of all things most shameful and vile.”
That brings us neatly to four. Make being productive into a habit. If you are used to coming home and watching hours of television while eating fried chicken wrapped in bacon, you will want to go home go home and want to watch hours of tv while eating fried chicken wrapped in bacon. As the good book says, “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” The way you are may not be, and often isn’t, the way you are the happiest. Change is hard, but usually worth it. Making anything that takes effort a habit is hard. It’s usually harder mentally than anything else. It is much easier to break habits then make them, so three (mental diligence) never really goes away, but it must get easier.
“Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be.”