We may often hear ourselves saying, we have a long to-do list
Or things that we still haven't completed. Or worse, we may talk about how we have no time. Often, it's just a matter of issues that can get resolved with a touch of philosophy.
There's work to be done as well, but the philosophy needs to come first. In this second part of the series, let's find out how philosophy can come to our rescue and serve our business—even save us time!
Part 1: Six Courses Behind: Why I Refuse To Stagnate
At any given point in time, I'm exactly like the next person.
I'm six courses behind.
Right now, I'm learning GREP (InDesign), Colour for cartoon scenes, Lighting and Shadow, Scrivener—and I just bought a new camera (the Fuji X100s). And yes, there are about 60 lessons of my Portuguese course that I still have to work through (I've completed 30). This means I'm a lot behind in my courses—at least six courses of about 18-20 hours each.
And yes, it frustrates me
I'd like to have finished the courses. I'd like to have mastered GREP and know all the buttons on that camera that looks like something my grandfather owned. And yes, I'm no newbie with Scrivener, but I'd love to finish that course, if only to find out what I'm missing.
And at this point in time, I remember. I have about six copies of Harvard Business Review to go through, and yes, at least seven books on my Kindle that I still have to read.
That's when I look at my nieces
One is five years old. The other is ten. They have so much stuff to learn as well. Week after week they're pummelled with maths, writing, spelling, reading, and it's endless. Like every one of us they struggle, but they don't think of the future like we do.
Even with an enormous amount of stuff coming up in the future, they're taking it one day at a time. They don't say things like “I haven't finished my maths, so I won't take on spelling”.
And we adults do just that
We believe in our silly, ideal world. A world where you start something and you finish it. Possibly even master it on the first sweep! We think we're not going to spend on this course, if we haven't finished that course.
We will not buy this book, if that book is not complete. Adults call themselves realists, but they live in a fantasy world where all the boxes are ticked.
No one is saying that you should be irrational
This is not a suggestion to go out and do seventeen courses, or buy twenty-three books, knowing that you haven't finished any of the preceding ones.
Yet, in this fast-moving world, you can't afford to sit down and say: I've not completed this, so I won't learn that. No, no, no, non, non, no! You want to be six courses behind, or five courses behind. Or even three! You want to be constantly learning, implementing and knowing that you're going to be behind all the time, from now until forever.
That is the state of the human condition
Your to-do list is always in a state of “things to do”. We're always behind, because if we were not behind, we'd be stagnant. And that's precisely what I would feel if I had completed all my courses, read all the books on my list, learned all the languages I needed to learn. I'd be stagnating.
You have to dig your well before you're thirsty
I bought myself a bunch of Moleskine books back in 2009. They're expensive watercolour books, but they lay on the shelf for about two years and I never so much as opened the wrapping.
Then, one day in 2010, I suddenly decided to use them, slowly at first, but soon I got momentum. I started using up one book every couple of months (that's 60 pages of illustrations). But my books were there on the shelves the moment I was just semi-keen to get started. So were my paints. And the same applies to the courses I buy, the stuff I do.
I'm always behind
Six courses behind.
Six magazines and seven books behind.
But you know what? I'm constantly striving to close the gap knowing I never will.
But it sure beats being stagnant, eh?