I was touring the Parisian subway system a few days ago.
Since it’s Christmas-time, there are ads everywhere telling us that the malls are open late, or on Sundays (gasp!). But there was one more thing: Massive amounts of jewellery ads.
The purpose of jewellery as a Christmas present is as follows: To convince your girlfriend/wife/significant other that you treasure her. The real reason for the jewellery purchase, however, is different. It’s that you basically ran out of time, couldn’t think of what to get her, and finally decided that something expensive would convince her that you really thought this through. Come on, you know I’m right.
Jewellery isn’t the only example of this. There are so many that I can’t even begin to count them, but their purpose is always to plug a hole by throwing in money, or effort, all at once. Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, all of these mean the same thing. “Damn you do a lot for me, and I don’t really appreciate it very much, so I’m going to try and plug the hole right now to avert disaster.” But these tricks don’t really work, do they?
I mean, they might work for a while, but in the long term it’s not like your wife is is convinced by the ring/necklace you bought. She knows how forgetful you are– and if you’re lucky, she loves you anyway. 😉
You know this, but it bears repeating: Nothing really replaces the day-to-day upkeep, whether in love or work or anything else. Starting a project is easy– you’re excited as you get out of the gate, you go off with a flash, and you tell everyone. What’s wrong with that? Let’s see.
Sure, if you’re not excited by something, then you probably won’t start. But excitement shouldn’t be what leads to action; if it does, you’re dependent on it to get anything done. No, you should be excited when you first think of or decide on work on something, but basing the work you do on inspiration or excitement is death. Fuggedaboutit. Submit to the machine instead.
No. Pace yourself. Don’t get exhausted by doing it for 8 hours a day at first– instead, do it for a short period and then force yourself to stop. If you’re writing, you should even stop in the middle of a sentence to give you a great place to start up tomorrow.
But either way, don’t get exhausted. The road is long, so chill out. Don’t get impatient.
Oh man, this one is the worst. What Henry Emerson Fosdick said it best:
No steam or gas drives anything until it is confined. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.
Submitting your idea to the public domain by telling people is crazy. First of all, you’re dependent on them mirroring your excitement. If they don’t, you start doubting yourself and risk halting everything.
Second, all the thinking you should do about your idea should be done by yourself first, until you prototype it or otherwise make it real. Containing it (like steam) will give you more fire. Do that instead.
Wow, I went off on a tangent there. What is the point of this again? Oh yeah, I remember. You can’t plug the holes all at once. Forget special days. Routine is king. Daily work will always beat bursts.
In other words: Never trust the sprinter to deliver a message. Always trust the long-distance runner, instead.