Saturday, March 24, 2012

This post will make you shift bricks.

I chose bricks instead of twinkies because I have my doubts as to the structural integrity of a palace made of twinkies.

Maybe I should have mentioned that after the analogy.  Hm.
In my father-in-law's back yard there is a large pile of bricks. If you suddenly thought to yourself Wow, I really want that pile of bricks on the other side of the yard to better display my brick enthusiasm you would have two options: 

1. Lift the pile, move the pile, deposit the pile.
2. Move the bricks one at a time until the pile is moved.

Only superman and certain species of forkliftae have the strength for option one. You? You have option two and only option two.
Looking at that pile of bricks stacked up in just the wrong spot it's easy to get discouraged. That's a lot - a lot - of weight to shift. You might feel like the task is impossible. You might wonder how something so frustrating could have happened. You may say to yourself "Tomorrow I will get it done." or "I'll start for real on Monday"

Eventually you may realize that National Brick Day is sooner than expected. So you'll think "Maybe I can move two bricks each day instead of one.  Starting Monday."

Monday comes and the task seems too big. 

National Brick Day passes and you wonder how you could have failed so badly.

My friend is in a hard place. He has an awesome job, but it pays only for production. In other words, the more he produces the more he makes. If he fails to produce, he makes nothing.

Tonight he said to me "I looked at my earnings for the year - March to March - and my goal had been $1000 per month. I only reached that goal 4 times over the entire year. Most of the time I earned less than $500."

Normally this would have let to a lengthy conversation about money, work, life, etc. but we had just finished a long game of Arkham Horror. Time for bed and interesting dreams.

So instead I summed up my thoughts. "When we look at a year of failures it's easy to get discouraged. It's important to let go of that and focus on the moment - on right now. The question isn't 'How am I going to make 12,000 dollars?' the question is 'How am I going to spend the next 15 minutes?'" 

Stop looking at the entire pile of bricks - the whole goal, the tremendous task. Let go of the past. There is absolutely nothing you can do about that now.

You have 15 minutes.  What will you do during that time? 

You have today. Move one brick.  Type one page. 

Yeah, it will feel like nothing compared with the job you're trying to complete. But that's part of the point. You'll look at that lonely brick now on the front yard and think "I guess I have time for another."

Step by step, page by page, brick by brick you will make your journey, you will write your novel, you will build your palace. Create something wonderful by focusing on the day by day. In a years time you'll look back and say "How in the world did I manage that?"


Coleen Patrick said...

Great post Greg!. I'm off to shift bricks, word by word. :)

Sarah Pearson said...

This is perfect timing. I'm revising at the moment, and when I see how long it takes me to go through one chapter, (and how many times I have to go through it), I sometimes get disheartened.

One page at a time :-)

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