Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A case for finishing

"When work is sustained, the mental 'frequency' for related thought stays tuned and ready to accept signals. The sustained activity gathers momentum, producing more thought, deeper discovery, a created object, or an accomplished project.

In contrast, when work is intermittent, related thought loses a connection that is difficult to resume. Like a seed planted but not looked after, thought and work already invested — however promising and wonderful — aren't given the opportunity to yield any result. Progress is at risk whenever a schedule of sustained work is discarded for any length of time.

I find that inattention to a project causes it to slip so far back in my mind that it seems impossible to find it all again. It's as if it slipped off an imaginary cranial back ledge. Can I reach back in my mind far enough to find it?....

If the project is disregarded long enough, the memory of its content gradually vanishes. What takes its place is an alien voice telling me how impossible and ridiculous my endeavor was in the first place. Without a mind full of content, I find it difficult to battle that accusing voiced. The ignored project is then apt to be ignored even longer, if not abandoned." -
Nancy Nordenson in Just Think: Nourish Your Mind to Feed Your Soul  (Kindle Location 1988).

I'm really enjoying Nancy Nordenson's book Just Think, which I've been reading off and on for a few weeks now. It's a book on various aspects of thought. The above passage resonated with me in a special way, perhaps because I've experienced it several times.

In fact right now I'm spending time on a project that I have "disregarded" numerous times and have found that exactly what Nancy describes has happened — that alien voice takes over and tells me how impossible the whole thing is. Since I've been giving it regular attention (100 minutes a day using a timer) I am making progress along with gaining a sense of confidence and self-respect. (For me there is nothing that erodes self-respect like a project not seen through to the finish.)

Nancy's blogs at Just Thinking

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Hi Violet,

Thanks for the call-out here. I appreciate it very much. I love your idea of setting the timer to 100 minutes. It's so concrete, with a beginning and an end. I might try it this afternoon. Glad you're enjoying the book.