Ask a bricklayer how to build a house and the answer will likely be, “One brick at a time.”
Ask a dressmaker how to tailor an evening gown and the reply will no doubt be a resounding, “One stitch at a time.”
And as for that famous old saying, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” well…
The point is it’s hard to argue with the truth.
So why is it when it comes to our everyday hopes and dreams we continue to harbor this fiery sense of urgency?
The answer, would you believe, can be found in a Tootsie Pop. Or rather, in the hell bent manner in which we’re prone to wolf down one of these tasty treats.
So, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
It’s the age old question, and if you don’t know the correct answer fret not because you’re not alone. In fact, according to the 1969 television commercial which originally posed the question, “The world may never know.”
Of course while not being privy to the number of tongue lashings necessary to arrive at the chocolaty goodness of a Tootsie Pop may not be a calamity in and of itself, what is of some concern is how we as a culture have this propensity to approach far more daunting tasks at an equally breakneck pace.
Be honest, if you’ve been chasing down a dream for any length of time and then out of the blue were offered a make-it-come-true-pronto button, chances are you’d start wailing on that thing like a Morse code operator on crack, right?
Because like that chocolaty goodness you know something is coming your way ꟷ you can taste it, and if landing it that much sooner means biting off a bit more than you can chew so be it.
Again in the case of a Tootsie Pop it’s no big deal.
In the case of your everyday hopes and dreams however this kind of ants in the pants impatience can eventually prove troublesome, if not altogether tragic. Meaning that if you feel things aren’t moving along in a timely enough fashion you could become frustrated, or worse…give up altogether.
“Over years of devotional work I found that if I just stayed with the process and didn’t panic, I could pass safely through each stage of anxiety and on to the next level.” Elizabeth Gilbert
For the record I just want it to be known that if you’re a starry-eyed twenty-something with a crackpot idea and little or no responsibility to speak of, I for one say go for the gusto. I say blaze that trail for all its worth.
So what if you fall flat on your face.
So what if things don’t work out.
Whaddaya got to lose?
But now what if like many of us you’re a semi-responsible adult whose daily duties largely consist of keeping the home fires burning.
How do you keep those hopes and dreams alive?
How do you sustain that special something without risking everything?
Personally I’m a big believer in what Elizabeth Gilbert calls, “the process,” and while I’ve had a few decent runs at building and sustaining a bit of momentum myself over the years I’m certainly no authority on steadfast stick-to-itiveness, therefore, I’m not about to begin preaching the powers of persistence or offer up a heated argument for dogged consistency.
What I would like to share with you, what I do know with great certainty is that there is an incredible amount of satisfaction in doing what you can. In knowing you’ve done all you can ꟷ no matter how much or how little that may be.
At the end of the day we’ve all got our hopes and dreams, and there's no question we’d all love to see them come to fruition, preferably sooner than later.
Deep down of course we know these things take time, and the simple fact of the matter is that the time we’re allotted to attend to these things is different for each of us.
This being the case, know that regardless of how much or how little you choose to do with the time you have, you’ve made the right choice.
So, pedal to the metal or steady Eddie? It’s your call.
It’s your hand to play, because only you know what’s at stake.
Only you can justly weigh the risk(s) involved and ultimately determine what exactly will satisfy that hunger in your heart.
In the meantime, bear in mind these words by Robert D. Smith, author of 20,000 Days and Counting:
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time, right?
Here’s the problem with that, says Smith.
Most of us are trying to create a project, not dismantle one.
We are trying to build something that doesn’t exist.
In reality, we are not trying to eat an elephant…we are trying to grow one.
So instead of trying to eat what’s in the room, start feeding it, one bite at a time.
See ya soon, till then, keeep it up.