Shiny Metal Tiger

Experiences in Baltimore, MD

Aching for completion

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The other day it fully dawned on me that I’m a habitual progress-measurer. I’m sure I would have admitted as much had I been pressed on the matter, but in this case the weight of it hit me in the middle of a bike ride: the majority of my activities are broken into quantifiable steps towards a definable goal, and many a thought is spent gauging my progress along these paths. I must finish X papers for my Ph.D., this or that paper requires Y experiments for completion. Each day, each week and each year has a to-do list attached, and tasks are checked off upon completion. As soon as I make a beginning, whether painting my Yu Jing or just buying food, I’m already looking towards its end. Lord help the kids if I ever end up being minister of education.

As far as I can tell this is a trait that cuts both ways. Certainly there are scenarios were you just need to work your way through something…

That’s a gallon of milk right there, and it’s got nothing on those Charms

… and measurable progress along the way can be very motivating. But sticking firmly to the program is bound to result in missed opportunities, and not everything of value can be measured. Nor does progress always come at a steady rate, so banking on that as my main source of motivation is certain to bring woes. I wax poetic, so I’ll bring this to an end with the simple statement that I’m a habitual progress-measurerer. Just something to keep in mind.

PS: It seems that I’ve somehow transformed into a person that prefers oats with raisins and walnuts to Lucky Charms. I wish I’d noticed that before I bought the box in the picture.

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Written by Martin

2012/09/26 at 19:57

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