It appears I am always seeking a new start and sometimes those new starts curtail other activities mid-stride. In hindsight, jumping from activity to activity appears to provide a moment of excitement but long-term dissatisfaction with all endeavors as the end result.
Did growth take place along the way? Yes. Were new lessons uncovered? Yes. Did it become easier to see the interconnectedness of everything? Yes. Was there a feeling of accomplishment or purpose? No.
Take for example reading. I normally am in the process of reading 3-6 books simultaneously and the topics of those books are dependent on mood, environment and my inclination toward a subject. I may be reading a novel, a book on organizational processes, a motivation book, a spiritual reader or Bible, a book on photography, and a second novel. Sometimes these books “mysteriously” align (“sacred echoes”) with topic, thought or process and the interconnectedness or similarity is uncanny. Sometimes, but not often, they tend to diverge or appear to be unrelated to each other.
Projects turn out the same way but I find they follow what the late Patrick McManus defined as the “sequential vortex” concept in his book “The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw.” Anyone who claims to be a project manager, DIY handyman, or fisherman can relate to the sequential vortex.
It is where you have a goal like fixing a faucet. Before you can begin you need to clear out the stuff in the way under the sink. When you start to clear the clutter, you find that you become embroiled in the correct placement and distribution of the stuff found while digging under the sink. You then shake off that feeling of having to put stuff away and focus back on the errant faucet.
Quickly you find you need a special tool or piece to repair the faucet so you run out to the store which may or may not have what you need. On the way to the store you remember another errand you needed to run, so you make one or two additional stops then finally get to the store. If the store has what you were seeking, then all is right with the world and you return to the faucet DIY project to continue the process. If they do not, you will end up with the choice of seeking another store or making something fit, which may start the whole “do I have what I need now that I have to use something I did not expect to use” process over again.
Finally you gather all the pieces and tools and then tighten, loosen or repair the faucet. Returning the items under the sink, you may again get distracted and realize that box “A” and bottle “B” are better placed somewhere else so you wander off to place them there, which of course may require some additional time to rearrange that location.
All told the project which should have take 15 minutes has turned into a half-day marathon and almost always has provided a few more items to add to the “to do” list.
So where does all this rambling lead? No idea.
Actually, it leads to the conclusion that while cross-pollination of ideas or projects can lead to better understanding and a wider view of the world, it is not necessarily conducive to quick problem resolution. Focusing on one and doing the hard work of completing that one activity, book, or project milestone does not provide a way to see the interconnectedness of everything but it does give a sense of accomplishment…of one more thing off of the never-ending “to do” list even if at times it leads straight to a sequential vortex.
It also reminds me when reading multiple books that sometimes one or two get left in the dust and are never finished (aka are piled up, lost, misplaced, donated, et al). And that brings up the whole subject of feeling like something is “missing” or feeling like I “should” read them — the unspoken distraction of unfinished readings and projects calling out every time you walk by, “step over,” or are reminded of them. Exhausting but a subject for another day.
Yes, I need to re-read this epistle and maybe put it in better organizational/flow state but for now the lesson is to embrace “A New Start” — simply focus on one thing and feel/reflect/celebrate on the accomplishment of getting things done.
As a side note, here’s a process (mental attitude) I learned in doing any outdoors work and of course I need to incorporate in all other activities:
What is the Goal?
Goal clarification: Is it important enough to spend lifecycles on it?
What is the timeframe (when & how long)?
Focus on ONE thing
If get distracted…say “Stop” (out loud or to self)…then re-focus
80-85% is good enough for a lot of activities
If become too tired…STOP…Resume later (set a timeframe)
Celebrate all efforts