"Even the woodpecker owes his success to the fact that he uses his head and keeps pecking away until he finishes the job he starts" (Coleman Cox). Ha-ha. I read this today and had to laugh. It helps that the woodpecker has a stout beak for doing the job. However, Cox makes a good point. When do we apply our smarts (or that of others) when trying to achieve a goal?
All of us are self taught to some degree and some of us are more brilliant than others. I am hardly the latter! For the vast majority of us, there is a high learning curve. There are plenty of 'self-help' or 'how-to' books available for learning how to achieve more, be more, and do more. Goodness. An entire profession has been devoted by some on instructing in the various fields: writing, art, psychology, health, and religion, to name a few. I have read my share.
A huge motivator for me in the past in pursuing such instruction has always been a basic unhappiness or an unmet need...... I read avidly about the various faiths (mostly Christian), until God finally shook some sense into me and I saw how 'unworthy' and then (surprise) 'worthy' I was as a child of God. I pushed to finish a college degree rather late in life, alongside my adult daughter and son. After graduation, I took on two 'work for hire' projects for two publishers (I also had an editing job) and worked so hard the back of my neck actually swelled. I can be stubborn and persistent sometimes.
Funny thing though is now that I am older, I am no longer as driven, which is a real handicap when you are trying to finish a novel. Is it laziness? A bad habit? Have I decided the original goal is not worth the effort? Perhaps the goal has evolved into something new, I have reasoned. For instance, I love blogging about family and things unrelated to the writing profession. I love letting a friend share her experience as a nurse on the Africa Mercy. I love that I now exercise regularly. (Health issues forced me to take exercise seriously and now I am ten pounds lighter). But truth be told, and here's the bottom line....I still want to finish the book!! So, in the left hand column of this blog I still record my (pitifully small) writing output and exercise (so proud of that).
Last but not least, my plate is rather full right now, but in a good, happy way. Vince and I have been exploring retirement options and the possibility of a move, and you can just imagine the reading material available on the topic. Next year is the year! We keep asking, where do we really want to live? Near our out-of-state children? Near our aging family? For that matter, staying here is a viable option, too. These are serious considerations that will determine so much of what happens to us in the future. We have spent hours discussing our options, a debate that will no doubt continue into 2014.
Like the woodpecker, I (we) will keep pecking away at the stated goals: finish the novel and decide where to live in retirement. When I look at it that way, it is really just two goals to accomplish. So today, I am celebrating the lesson of the woodpecker, who knows (in a small way) how to get the job done, one peck at a time!
How do you handle goals? Has your experience been similar?