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April 20th, 2020
There’s a curious phenomenon when a projects starts to lose steam in the final mile. It’s as though the novelty of the whole endeavor is long over by that point. The interesting part of the work, as work, is pretty much over, and those last few percent to completion feel a bit more like going through the motions.
The whole thing strangely loses luster. With the whole thing so close to being a reality, there seems like little surprise between what we think is possible and what actually is possible. With all the pieces pulled from a dream now in the real world, that final assembly holds less intrigue.
We can have a tendency to undermine ourselves right when the effect presents it’s greatest danger.
The trick here is to see this part of the process as a different kind of work. It’s no longer about intrigue, surprise and molding reality in the shape of dreams. The work of that final mile is a psychological one, a stretch that has more to do with pushing one’s self than any sense of dream or possibility. Those finishing touches before pressing print, require a different muscle. One that is of huge importance. It’s that mechanism that is at the heart of self-motivation. It’s the ability to do a thing solely for the sake of doing. This muscle, this ability, that we constantly forgo opportunities to exercise, doesn’t just come up at the tail end of projects, but everywhere. At the beginning before we’ve even started, during gaps in process when we feel stuck or blocked. In the beginning we have things like curiosity and interest to help fuel this psychological engine, and again during the process when we get stuck, the instance itself can feel like a frustrating puzzle that generates its own energy for a solution.
At the tail end when the project is losing luster in the final mile, we need to see our own self as the puzzle, the factor to be solved for, the lock to be cracked. It’s this predicament more than anything where we risk to lose the most by holding ourselves back, for the simple reason that we don’t risk losing what might be possible so much as losing what we’ve already proved actually is possible.