The "Finished Product"

So often times in life I get extremely focused on a long term goal and the finished result.  It can be a fitness goal, financial goal, spiritual goal, etc...

Last summer it was building our house.  I wanted that house built and I wanted it built fast.  Basement dug.  Good.  Concrete poured.  Great.  Framed and roofed.  Sweet.  Everything was going along splendidly until we hit the dry in stage.  Progress slowed.  I became frustrated and irritated that nothing seemed to be getting done.  My bank account didn't seem to notice that nothing was being done however and we continued to dump loads of cash into the house for materials.

I'm glad I took pictures everyday.  It allowed me to view progress....and not go crazy.

I was suffering from what many Americans suffer from.  I-want-it-now-itis.  Many people (myself included) occasionally have a problem with ignoring the process that is needed to obtain the product or outcome they desire.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Well thanks a lot Lao-tzu.  That really solves my problem here.  Now take your ancient drivel and shove it...

you get the picture.  The concept behind this quote however is what makes it truth.  As Americans however we for some reason ignore this simple truth.  I think youtube, media, culture, etc... is probably responsible for this mindset.  All you get to see is the finished product.  When you look at a dancer or basketball player or painting it can be easy to brush aside how much skill it takes to accomplish the finished product.  I can do that you think.  I can shoot par on pebble beach you might say.  It can't be that hard.

So you wrangle up some clubs and hit the local links for your shot at awesomeness.  The first hole errors are easy enough to shrug off.  Just warming up after all.  The second and third hole had sand and the fourth had a creek no one could cross.  By the six or seventh hole you realize golf isn't that easy and you either blame the clubs, weather, or grounds crew for your lack of success.  You return home to watch the PGA from your couch and lament that if you had a caddy too, it would have been different.

Our minds are quick to rationalize how "easy" or "quick" accomplishing a goal might be.  After all we see "perfection" every day.  Then when we cannot achieve, it is much simpler to justify outward factors at why we fail and return to drudgery. 

I want to challenge this common thought process.  Take ownership of your shortcomings.  It is the only way to improve.  After all if you always pass the buck then the world and your life seem out of control.  There is nothing you can do to solve your problems.  That is one helpless way of living.

Instead take this pledge.

No.  I say no to this rubbish.  I WILL take control of the factors that I can control and I WILL own up to my failures.  In fact I will relish them.  Failure to me is simply one step closer to success.  What I did wrong will become a stepping stone to success.  No one can stop me.  Nothing can deter me.  Ever. 

Say this to yourself as you struggle to get fit.  Think it as you pay off debt.  Obsess over it during your darkest moments when it seems the whole world is against you.  Just continue to put one foot in front of the other.  Take a break from life.  Look around you.  Look at what you have done.  Enjoy that you are still here, you live to fight another day.  If you have been working at a goal for a while look back at where you started and how far you have come.

Know that success does not come over night.  Others may only see the now or the "finished product."  Always enjoy the fact that you get to see the struggle and that makes your finished product or goal that much sweeter.            


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