Today’s Mental Struggle = Tomorrow’s Mental Gain

Has this ever happened to you?

You get an idea, something that in some point in the near or far future you would like to see come to fruition. Whether it be by your hand or someone else’s, it is a goal that you can imagine in your mind and you can see it being a success.

Now, how do you get it there? How do you bring it from intangible thought bouncing around the pinball machine of your mind to full-blown creative vision fleshed out and flourishing?

Sometimes I feel like I have hit a snag in a project that runs parallel to my design business. This snag comes from the sheer magnitude of a task that I have set out for myself as a goal, and I find myself nearly rendered incompetent and motionless whenever I sit down to think about it. Seriously, I think, “Now’s the time to finally get down to business and… dust the whole apartment.” At night before I go to bed I feel like a task-oriented mega-businesswoman who can handle anything she happens to throw at herself. And in the morning I am a child who doesn’t know how to spell “the.”

So why is this task so monumental, so huge, humongous, gi-normous? It boils down to being a project of a hundred smaller tasks all linked together in such a way that to do one of them wrong could mean financial and legal ramifications my family is not ready to deal with. It involves research, trial and error, mountains of my time and energy, and the necessary neglect of dust bunnies. It involves computer time, both on and offline, sketchbook time, brainstorming time, brain-calm-seas time (that needs to be a word—get with the program, Webster)… And so much of me that I sometimes wonder if the person I am today will survive by the time when I will eventually be able to put my pen down and say, “It is done. Let no man put asunder what my blood, sweat and tears has created.”

Of course, all this drama could just be my mind putting weight in areas of this project that really mean no more than sitting with a library research book and a hot cup of tea after the kids go to bed. Or sitting at the computer with a hot cup of coffee while the little one naps and the older ones are away at school.

Or having a quiet date night with my husband while brainstorming on napkins and holding hands by candlelight.

Life is tough. So are minds. Minds being not “tough” as in “Boy, she’s a strong woman,” but more like, “Your mind is turning this project into a dissertation when it’s really only a high school level essay.” But isn’t that was life is all about? We choose our battles (and I think I have picked a doozy), and our battles are only as hard as we make them out to be? I certainly like the idea of sipping a cup of sweet tea with cream while reading a book on my squishy couch rather than piling my hair on top of my head, wearing vinyl gloves, and scrubbing the baseboards in my bathroom.

That’s not to say that changing my way of thinking instantly turns this task into a high school level essay, but it certainly puts things into perspective. One step at a time, right? I could always look at it this way—I had to brush my hair, put it on top of my head in a sloppy bun, pull on the gloves, fill the bucket with soap and hot water, make sure I had the right sponge… The big task separated out into much smaller tasks (that may all be connected but are each as equally important as the one before it) suddenly makes it more manageable. More acquirable. More, “Hey, I can do this.”

So this task? It involves trademarks, legal fees, income and profits, and yes – lots of my time. I might be successful, I might not, but I know by the time it’s over I will have learned an insane amount of stuff that will make the time I spent on the project invaluable.

And perhaps a few months down the road it will mean a new blog post featuring the fruits of my labors and a rundown of the steps I accomplished in order to complete it. After all, a task such as this one is a task worth teaching someone else how to do as well.

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