Gotta take things to the end, man! 

Ever see the movie “Up”? If you have you’ll probably remember the dog that’s always getting distracted. I think his most memorable line is “Squirrel!” as he bounds away after some real or imagined varmint. Ironically his name is Dug; because I am him.

I have a relatively well documented history of being a scatter brain and I’ve been known to free associate others to dizziness. Sometimes this is fun for me and sometimes it’s maddening for those around me. In almost all cases it’s not very conducive to getting things done.

I have whole notebooks of story ideas, loose plans of action and criteria to follow to turn my life around. My past is littered with everything from credos to life plans all of which only made it just past conception or barely into use before they hit some form of resistance. Because along with having a bit of a problem focusing I also sometimes have a tough time pushing through difficulties to get to the end.

I’m not quite sure where I picked up the tendency to take the path of least resistance. I was taught to persevere and made a habit of it in my early years, especially regarding sports. Even in academics, which came relatively easily to me, I was able to grind through physics and chemistry and biology especially in college. However, my fraternity brothers who were a brainy bunch taught me there were people who breezed through these subjects. As one of them put it in regard to what appeared to me to be a difficult physics problem, “I don’t know how I do it. I just see it.” Perhaps it was there that I picked up this idea that if something was hard maybe I just wasn’t cut out for it.

It’s been difficult for me over the years to accept defeat. As I said I ground my way through tough subjects. I didn’t say I did well. So, sometimes telling myself something wasn’t my cup of tea was easier than saying I failed. I don’t know anyone who relishes failure even though in many cases it’s absolutely necessary for us to fail to get to the right solution. Science is all about failure. Edison’s

pursuit of the correct filament for the first lightbulb comes to mind. My trouble is accepting the essential nature of failure and then moving on to the next attempt to accomplish the task. Too often when the first or second attempt fails or I don’t follow through, the idea is not so much chalked up to experience and leading me to the ultimate solution as it is left to languish on a personal dung heap of partially completed or half-assed attempts. It’s not a particularly flattering thing to admit but understandable because I hate the idea of quitting almost as much as the idea of failing.

So up until now I’ve made a habit of trying something, some idea, or starting some project, some home improvement thing, and when I encountered difficulty sort of abandoning it. But these things don’t leave me alone, oh no. These ideas, these projects and these things have a knack for yammering away in the back of my mind. In fact they drain away satisfaction from the things I do accomplish. They say, “Nice job on that but oh by the way there’s still a legion of us out here that you didn’t do well with or finish up.” So this Thursday that stops.

The things I start I will tak to completion. Completion may mean I accomplish them or it might mean I don’t. I may be able to stand back at the end and say, ‘Yes! I got that done.’ Or I may have to force myself to say, ‘Yes! I realized that won’t work or isn’t worth pursuing. I need to find someone with abilities I don’t possess to get it done.’ Clearly the latter scenario will be the tough one. And as for that heap of things left undone or partially done? Well, as Eminem so famously rapped, I’m going to have to start “cleaning out my closet”.

I’m pretty sure we all deal with things like this so I’d really appreciate if you’d lay some of those life skills on me and comment below. If this would help a friend of yours or it might be a nice nudge to someone, please share it. I hope it’s helpful for you and for them. 

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