Stretched Thin

You awake, a new day laid out before your feet. A full day full of possibilities, a blank slate upon which great works will be created. The morning preparations are attended to with much ado, coffee brewed and breakfast conjured up in anticipation of the productivity to be had.

This day has been a long time coming. Much planning has gone into this day, this day of great productivity. As you sit down at your station of work, at your place of creation, your head fills with all the multitudes of projects that require completion, all of the new ventures that must be started upon. And as you think upon these great works that will be started upon and completed, a strange thing occurs: a feeling of complete and utter dread descends down upon your brain.

This may or may not be a relatable scenerio for everyone, but for many, this is an inevitable reality for anyone who attempts to complete everything that needs to be done – be it a creative project, a home improvement project, working in the garden, mowing the grass, exercise, whatever! You place all things that you believe need to be done to accelerate your progress in life onto one plate, one day, and when you attempt to consume-er-complete these objectives, suddenly, it all becomes so completely overwhelming, so entirely insurmoutable, that there is nothing you can do in the face of it all but stand idle in mental aspixiation.

This, of course, is the dilemma.

It’s a wall I’ve come up against time and time again. A wall of my own creation, built up out of yearning to do something, anything, to feel accomplished in some meaningful way and not feel like my day, my life has been wasted.

Red flag.

That’s the trap, isn’t it? We put so much stock in the idea of being accomplished and we are so afraid of wasting time in this mile-a-second content-filled world we live in, that any time spent not making something of ourselves or bettering ourselves is seen as tragic. This idea that being alive, that being happy or relaxed is somehow a sin to be shunned at all cost, to be honest, is immoral.

But that’s the world we live in, isn’t it? It’s not about what you do, not about how much you contribute to society or to the well-being of yourself and others, this world only appreciates how much capital you can generate. And so, that’s how we value ourselves. We are forced to constantly think about how much we are worth in commodity-based society.

So we try to do everything all at once. We set ourselves up for failure. In trying to do all things, in stretching ourselves to the utter limit, the work suffers. The work is suffocated by the amount of it weighing down upon the mind. So instead of making progress, instead of working towards our goals, we become so overwhelmed with the scope of the work that needs to be done that… we stall. Procrastination, excuses, mental fatigue, lack of motivation, hopelessness, disillusion, all the result of biting off more than one can chew when it comes to the daily tasks.

So what’s the solution?

The solution is as simple as it is difficult. The solution is to try to do as little as humanly possible. Seriously.

Because the truth is, doing what is possible is better than doing nothing at all. And that can be a hard truth to swallow, for a lot of people, for me. Because sometimes, doing one thing can seem like less than enough, even if it is more than enough. Because doing one thing, consistently, day in and day out, can lead to a big thing, or multiple things, being completed, even if it never feels like it in the moment. The trick is, to realize that the moment lies and lies often.

Do what you can, whenever you can, as often as you can. Even if it’s only one thing, even if it’s only half a thing, a fraction. Do something, anything, because anything is better than laying back and letting nothing happen.

2 Replies to “Stretched Thin”

  1. I totally agree, and this goes along the lines of the teachings in the book Atomic Habit. In fact, I’ve been memorising 2 Chinese characters a day for almost a year now, and I’m beginning to be able to read the language.

    Had I deigned that a lesson takes an hour, I’d never have started in the first place. Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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