Chipping Away

The door of the moving truck slides up.

Behind it is all of your worldly possessions. They’re stacked up neatly, braced against each other, arranged so that they don’t topple over in transit. Your things are there, and they’re staring back at you, mocking you, almost laughing at you. Of course that’s all in your head, but when you see everything at once, this mass becomes more than the sum of its parts. You struggle to wrap your mind around all that you have to do. The task at hand seems so much greater than it did before, and you wonder if you’re up to it. It’s all so overwhelming. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed.

We may ask ourselves, “How can I possibly do this?” It’s easy to let yourself be paralyzed by what you see. It might take a few trips, or it may take many trips. It could take the entire day. You might need a lunch break, and you might get frustrated with how long it’s taking, so much longer than you thought it would. After hours of work, it may seem like there’s no improvement. Keep going. When you open the door, it’s human to see the task before you and to laugh to yourself over how insane or insurmountable it seems, at least that’s how I usually react. The laughter helps to ease the tension.

The task before us can seem so great, so beyond our ability that we wonder if it’s worth undertaking. And yet, as we stand there, we feel compelled to start somewhere. We walk forward and pick up an item, maybe it’s just one, and already the situation is just a little bit better, a little less chaotic, a little more manageable than it was previously. We have to keep in mind that even if it seems like nothing happened whatsoever, and even if there are setbacks, as long as the line is trending in the right direction, there’s no reason to stop. In some cases, as is the case with moving, the motivation is simple: unless you’ve paid movers, no one else is going to do this for you. With other tasks, other undertakings, it can seem a little less clear as to why we’re sticking to the path that we’re on.


As I’m sure you guessed, this post isn’t just about moving.

Part of growing up is breaking away from friends and family, not isolating yourself from them, but recognizing that you have certain goals, and that only you can supply the motivation necessary to reach them. Our lives become individualized, we become our own responsibility, and it can be a lonely place to be. It’s all on you now, and while that’s empowering to some, not everyone feels that way. Sometimes, we need the help of others, or we need others to show us the way. Everyone is different, and not everyone you meet in this world is a self-starter. Recognizing this fact is key to navigating your world, and it teaches you to be a little less critical of others and their journey. We all start from different places with different resources available to us. We all have our own limitations and problems to work through.

There may be fear or doubt, but sometimes the will to do something is even greater. When you’ve dreamed of doing something for any duration of time, when you’ve visualized success and can almost taste it, you stop worrying so much about the logistics of it all. You keep pushing, knowing that even if today’s progress was minimal, that over time, you’ll achieve a lot. You have to keep chipping away, day after day after day. You’re allowed to take a break, but if you let it go for too long, you’ll let it go for a while. Beginning again will be that much more difficult with the seeds of doubt planted firmly in your mind. Keep pushing, and don’t forget to stand back and admire what you’ve accomplished. Admire the achievements, but not for too long. Don’t get complacent on me.

The accomplishments can be glamorous. We can have a house that’s fully put together, a beautiful place to live. We can get the dream job we’ve always wanted. We can run the race we’ve always hoped that we would. We can lose the pounds that have been keeping us from a more energetic existence. All of these are fantastic things to achieve, but the work is decidedly less glamorous. There are times when you’re tired, well beyond the point of exhaustion. There is frustration and doubt in abundance, and you wonder if any of the things that you’re doing, if any of them are going to pay off. It’s important to remember why we’ve begun something in the first place, to evaluate our progress and ourselves, and if this goal is still worth chasing, we need to push even harder.

The future may be in doubt. We could look at the task or goal, laugh, and say that maybe it’s not worth it or we’ll come back to it at another time, when we’re stronger and we know more than we do now. Failure may look all but assured, but if we step away, the one thing that’s absolutely assured is you won’t get there if you stop trying. You’ll never know when something could fall in your favor, so keep pushing towards that goal. You might end up getting exactly what you wanted.

When you develop a mindset of chipping away, of making incremental progress, life gets easier, or at the very least it’s more manageable. Rather than going full tilt at an unsustainable pace, do a little bit each day towards your goal, and let yourself want to do the work more and more. You start to get comfortable, start to get the hang of things, and you dig a little deeper each time. This mentality becomes the way you operate, and there are few things in life that can’t be tackled with this approach. Of course, there’s still effort and hard work involved, but if you truly want the thing you’re going after, love will get you the rest of the way there. The things we want truly become a labor of love, as we learn to live each day and just enjoy each step of the journey that we’re on. Thanks for reading.


4 thoughts on “Chipping Away

  1. “A mindset of chipping away…” This post of chock full of sage advice, good man. I have found ‘labors of love’ to be not only worthy pursuits but ones that often yield rewarding outcomes. I wish more people would find your blog, savor your pragmatic and inspiring views, and consider your messaging beyond the surface words. They are good!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s