Decide Now (why will come later)

As I wrote about here, the reasons for building my cabin are in and of itself. However as I continue working on this project I find new reasons appear. This weekend I learned three things:

  • Patience
    It takes a long time to hammer in a 3-inch nail. By the fortieth nail your arm begins to ache and you make more mistakes. The more mistakes you make, the longer it takes to hammer that nail in and the higher your frustration gets. The higher your frustration gets the more mistakes you make and therefore the longer it takes to hammer that nail in. The longer it takes the more frustrated you get and the more mistakes you carry on making. It’s a classic downward spiral and patience is what you have to learn to get out of there.
  • Good Form
    There are a lot of monotonous tasks in this project. Swinging your arm, kneeling on the ground and being in awkward positions can cause strain. A lesson in good form leads to avoiding these things but more importantly good form leads to good results. If before each hammer blow you have good form you know your strike will be a good one. You would rather take the extra second to adjust before striking than strike badly and spend several minutes twisting and pulling the nail out.
  • Presence
    This is relevant to both points above. When I am present in the moment I am patient and I have good form. Another word that might describe this better is concentration. When I say I am present I mean this sustained concentration of what I am doing in each moment, whether it’s an awareness of the way my muscles contract just slightly when picking up a hammer or being aware of what my eyes are looking at.

There is one more, quite subtle, lesson here. It is about decisions. Before I started the cabin project I didn’t say to myself “Here are my reasons for why I am doing this, and now I am going to start.” I just said, “I want to build a cabin, and now I am going to start.”

“It doesn’t matter so much that you’re right, it matters that you decided.”Seth Godin

We all tend to search for reasons to make a decision on something. In this process we think up reasons for why we shouldn’t say yes to a decision. We project ourselves into the future and think about everything that could go wrong, which leads to inaction.  What I have learned instead is that these reasons we create are most probably wrong, inaccurate, and irrelevant. The real reasons will only show themselves after you have made the decision. And here is the point – it’s not about why you make a decision but that you make one. The why will come after.

What do you think? Have you spent ages thinking of reasons not to decide, and then just did it anyway? Have you ever made a wrong decision?

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