So we’v all wanted to do something at one point or another. Before my personal development journey I wanted to start a blog. A blog scratches that itch of “importance” in my opionion and is one of the ways it differeentiates from a journal. A journal is for thoughts only you see. A blog is a place to put thoughts down that others get to see. So I made a few attempts at writing, but never even got as far as a first post. Sure, I made a profile, but I couldn’t decide on what is the “best” first post.
And there is our problem folks. We put so much importance on the “best” or the most “perfect” outcome that we freeze up.
The best way I have found to combat this paralysis, what I have heard referred to as the “analysis paralysis”, is to close your eyes, not care about the outcome, and as Nike says, just do it.
Which is how we find outselves here. I am not thinking about the structure of the post, I am not thinking about whether or not my ideas are in order, I am just writing. I can always go back and edit. What is important is that the post is done, even thought it certainly is not perfect.
My life has been a mess for a while now. For pretty much my entire life. I’ve had a great life. Great parents, grew up in a great city, had great friends, but my life was a mess! No organization skills at all. I think my last “to-do” list was in Jr. High, and even then I didn’t really use them. So about a year ago I started doing more and more projects in my garage. Now, the thing with working in the garage is that you need work space. If you are taking apart a carburator you need a table to put the damn thing on, and a clean table at that so you can spread the parts out and keep everything organized.
Well I didn’t have a table. I didn’t have really anything other than tools, and a small tool chest. So I would work on the ground. Since I didn’t have a vise to hold things in, I had to kinda hold them down with a foot or something. It wasn’t pretty.
So I would have friends come over, friends that also work on stuff, and they would say, “man, your garage is messy.” And I would give some automatic response of “Oh yea I know, actually I am looking into building a really cool woodworking table. Something I can move around from spot to spot, something that has areas for vise’s. Its gonna be really nice.” And so I would say that a few times, do nothing to make it happen because that was the habit that I was in. Talking about a dream, getting the small dopamine hit that talking about it, that visualizing it for a split second, for visualizing your life with said thing, but without doing anything about it. Then I looked into said tables. And man, they looked complicated and expensive. See the thing with wood working tables is that they are very custom to the work area and the person working on them. This is why you will see most wood workers tables have been homemade. Because they know what their work flow is, they know how they make stuff, and they know what they want.
So what happened? I got discouraged. “Eh, I dont have the money to invest in something like that right now.” “eh, I don’t have the skill to make something like that, and even if I did attempt it I can see messing something up.” So the table never got built and the garage stayed in a messy, disorganized state.
I don’t know what did it. I don’t think life always gives you an “ah-hah” moment, instead its more like how water carves through stone. One day, after lots of water has passed over it, you have an indentation. So one day, I said, “In order for me to know what kind of table I want to build I ned to know what my workspace looks like. Without a table I can’t answer that question. So the first thing is I need a table. I need to get stuff off the floor so I can get a birds eye view of this all. What is the cheapest way I can get a table in here?” So I went to home depot, bought some 2×4’s, bought some particle board, came home, framed up a square, added some legs in the corners and in the center, flipped it up on its legs, cut the particle board to size, and BAM! I had a table. I went from not havnig one, to having one, simply by saying “I’m doing it. I dont care if its perfect. In fact I know it wont be. But done is better than perfect.” What I didn’t realize was that by saying “I need to get stuff off the floor in order to get an understanding of what is going on here.” I was implementing David Allen’s “psychic bandwidth philosophy which is essentially “write everything you need to do in your life down on a piece of paper. Once it is on the piece of paper you then no longer need to spend brain power on keeping the ideas, and spending the brain power on making those ideas happen. Your head is for having ideas, not holding them.” I needed to get everything off the floor in order for me to even start to think about what to do with it all.
But this is not the way we are taught to do things. In this country we put huge importance on “efficiency” and so we mistakingly think that putting in work, only to “re-do” it all, or to make a table, only to make another table, means that the first table we made was waste! Hardly. The first table was required in order to know what you wanted the second table to be. “Well, you should be able to make the best table right out the gate. You should just think more about what you want” people will say. Yea, well in a perfect world I suppose you are right, but we do not live in a perfect world. We live in the real world. And in the real world sometimes we need to be creative and sometimes we need to have “sacrificial work.”
Margret Thatcher said it best when she said, “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
I will end with this for today, because my goal was to get some writing in and I still have some stuff to do on my to-do list. A few hours ago I came online to find iPhone buy sites, and I havent even typed it in. Now how is that for procrastination for you? See I am FAR from perfect, but I am getting it done!
The guy who says, “yea well you should have known the best table to build right out the gate because the way you are doing it is not very efficient!” is a friend of mine. He is also a craftsman and he also has an unorganized garage. Well, my garage has been in a decent state of organization for about a year now and his is still in the exact stage of disorganization that is has been for quite some time. Now, he is working at his mom’s place remodeling it, but even then I walk into that work space and it is disorganized. He says, “I want to do it once, and I want to do it right.” Well,m I hope that works out for him, and knowing him it very well might, but put a price on spending a year of your life with a garage that hurts you inside. Is it worth more than $100? Because thats what it would cost for him to build a few tables and some shelves. $100 and a weekend or two. And I’ll tell you what, building that stuff is fun, getting things off the floor is fun.
As another example, I like to invent things.
Now that I am chugging full tilt in personal development I figured I would start writing.