If You’re Going Through Hell…

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Keep going. You said it, Winston Churchill. The Blog Every Day in November (#BEDN) topic of the day is motivation. I find this amusing and ironic, since I’m presently procrastinating while perusing this flask design for the holidays and future use:

Design by Anne Taintor

Design by Anne Taintor

I’d like to pair it with a coaster emblazoned with this:

Coaster design by MikWright

Coaster design by MikWright

Okay, so I’m having a little fun with this topic, but let’s break it down. We live in a culture that praises productivity and getting items checked off the proverbial “to-do” list. Frankly, I get exhausted just listening to it. I’m not saying we should be lazy or miss deadlines. I’m actually proposing we stop perpetuating the cycle of rewarding those who quickly turn out half-assed stuff just to “Get ‘er done.”

Instead, let’s take some time to inhale that coffee we are drinking, think about the origin of those beans, flavor notes, and why that coffee tastes so damn good. Yes. Procrastination is actually a good thing for creative people because it allows for great ideas to percolate. I guess that I would argue that if you’re going through hell, by all means move forward. However, you may want to take a minute to explore what landed you there in the first place so you don’t wind up in that hot mess all over again. Simply passing through doesn’t really teach you anything for future use.

When I was writing my graduate thesis, we had an entire year to complete the project and guess what? I ended up writing it in three weeks during the month of April. I graduated the second week in May. Did I require any special assistance or extensions? No. Did I make a big, giant, “to-do” list? Nope, and I got a 4.0. I’m not telling you this to brag or give you the sense that I like living on the edge. I’m merely stating that everyone works at their own pace and in their own style. Was I doing nothing else that entire year? Absolutely not. I think everything that was going on at the time provided me with the best content; and was essential in bringing me to the place I needed to be so I could articulate all of my thoughts into words and images. I’ve come to accept that the right combination of procrastination, pressure, and motivation is a necessary process for me to produce the best quality work. They key is knowing yourself and how to apply that combination.

So can we stop infringing our excessive “to-do” lists on others, thereby creating more anxiety? Let’s start embracing different styles of working and accept that what motivates one person might not motivate another. Focus on priorities and what is truly important. Spend time with family, friends, and other interests because they are a source of support and inspiration. Yes. Take the time to “stop and smell the roses.” But definitely don’t get caught doing it in someone else’s yard. Dude, that’s just creepy.

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