As I’ve become older I noticed I’ve become more like one of my former acquaintances who had no taste for adventure and had become overly conservative and averse to changes. This personal trend increased during the lock-down for the pandemic. On the scale of introversion to extroversion, introversion seems to be more prevalent. It takes extra motivation to get out of the house to take in new experiences.
It seems that I’ve become more mentally lazy in this regard–something I do not want to encourage. It’s time to put my nose to the grindstone and reestablish some routines and schedules. If I jot down what needs to be done, I’m more likely to complete the tasks. This is less effective if the goal requires several months to complete. I’ve considered scheduling bite-size portions of the job, but acclimating myself to a routine works better for me.
Generally speaking, I’m pretty much a detail-oriented, methodical worker–once I get started. This is especially true when the project is to clean small objects or to restore a vintage or antique lamp. I want the thing to look as close to when it was new, yet to be robust enough to use as a current, everyday part of living.
For example, a few years ago, I spent the better part of two weeks restoring a 120-year-old kerosene lamp. I wanted to retain the vintage, electrified conversion parts yet also keep in reserve the ability to re-convert it back to liquid fuel. I formulated a plan and set about to follow it step by step. Due to the fact that it is the oldest lamp in the house, I was further motivated because I wanted to see it lit up again. I didn’t mind the gradual progress. I just went with the flow and gut instincts as to how to repair certain components. After the pieces were fixed or replaced, everything assembled quickly. The lamp was then placed in the bedroom to use as a practical accessory.
Overall, I’m fairly good at imagining and planning what I want to do. It’s the implementation that often falls short. When I don’t begin working on the project, I physically write a short note in the day-planner journal. The act of putting pen to paper mentally solidifies the goal in my mind better than tapping a reminder into an electronic device. For some people the electronic reminder works better. Regardless of the format, I recommend scheduling because it’s effective. The schedule gets you started on the path to methodical completion of the job at hand.
The point is to just begin. Once a task is started, the work seems to almost flow along on its own. It isn’t the most exciting thing, but oftentimes, we simply become absorbed and mentally get into it. Our minds pull odd tricks like this all the time. It’s how we operate on the job or tinker with our hobbies. I’m sure psychologists have probably studied this phenomenon because it’s interesting.
What’s also interesting about putting in the necessary effort, is that not only do we complete our tasks, our characters grow and become a little stronger. With diligent attention and patient caring about our actions, we thrive as a result of the expended effort.
The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders something from 20th century Indian sage and liberated being, Ramana Maharshi. “No one succeeds without effort…. Those who succeed owe their success to perseverance.”