The Wall of Delusion

Sometimes when you first start making progress on a task or a problem, you reach an early point where the problem seems much much worse than before you made any progress at all.

You look out at your back yard, overgrown with weeds. You decide to get it under control. After an hour or two of pulling, cutting, and hacking, you’ve cleared a section of your yard – and the remaining task seems more insurmountable than the whole thing did when you began.

That’s because there wasn’t just a task in front of you. There was also a wall of delusion, where you imagined the task to be much simpler than it actually was.

We often, ironically, use this delusion to justify not doing the task. We say “oh, because it will be so easy whenever I decide to do it, it’s not a big deal that I haven’t done it yet.” We’re lying to ourselves.

Then, when we finally engage, we realize the lie. The wall crumbles, and we are faced with the reality that this task is actually pretty hard, and will take more juice than anticipated.

That’s okay. The wall has to come down at some point, and the regret, shame, and demotivation it was holding back will wash over you. Many people are washed away by this flood, and that’s why you’ll see plenty of abandoned New Year’s Resolutions and half-painted garages. But you won’t. Because when that happens, you’ll remember that the wall was there, and that what you’re feeling now is only the discomfort that comes from a better understanding of reality. You’ll realize that this is just the last hurdle before you align your effort with the task and complete it in its own time.

And you won’t leave anything half-finished again.

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