Road to Hell; proper noun
1. A route paved with good intentions
2. A repository of countless scorched soles
3. A thruway to be avoided owing to crowded conditions and heavy tolls
It’s a place many of us have trod, cursing our internal GPS for leading us astray. To time wasted, soles singed and worthwhile laid bare as worthless. As the road gets hotter and more serpentine, getting the hell out becomes more urgent.
How do you find a more pleasing byway? By becoming a doer. Thinking is easy. Doing frequently isn’t. But without follow through, intentions aren’t worth the time it takes to think them. Intending to do something means not doing it, so don’t give yourself much credit just for thinking.
We don’t have to do everything we think. Much of what we consider doing probably won’t be done and a goodly portion shouldn’t be done. Imagined endeavors give us cover from the mundane but vital things we have to do. Fantasy projects keep one foot in la la land, rather than on terra firma. Getting things done is hard. It’s called working. Not getting things done is easy. It’s called loafing.
How To Get Things Done
First, appreciate that thinking (intentions) and doing (accomplishments), are related, but not as closely as we might wish. Next, be willing to pull the plug on ideas that really should be circling the drain. When you realize that the thing you thought needed doing, really doesn’t, let it go. The road to crazy is paved with “If I think it I must do it.” Finally, remember that better is the enemy of the good. Good is often good enough.
There are signposts indicating shaky ground. Heed them and course correct before it’s too late.
“I’ll get around to this soon …” is a first utterance.
“One of these days…” takes over when soon has long since past.
“When pigs fly…” indicates reality is setting in.
“Ok- Never.” That’s it- the final pronouncement. The good intention has put you in a bad place and you’re ready to admit your folly, cut your losses, and move on to something worth doing.
Never is not a failure. Failure is continuing to make excuses or beat yourself up over something that you’ve realized doesn’t matter, or isn’t worth the time and energy required for completion. Give yourself a pass on things you know are nevers.
I’m never going to organize my family’s pictures. I mustered just enough will to have 1000 of the “best” (a dubious description) professionally scanned and saved to a disc and file. The rest are in photo boxes, in rough chronological order. There are no albums. There are no collages. And the thousands that hide in the computer are never going to be printed. To do more with these photographic memories would be my personal Road to Hell. What’s yours?
“Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda