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The Tinkered Mind
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July 4th, 2020
Some details, tiny issues like shoe pebbles, the sort generally reserved as nits for the nitpicker, both urgent and unimportant can persist in a way that seems unsolvable. Dealing with these pesky details can make a person wonder if they are getting a bit touched in the head, obsessive, certainly at least a little crazy.
Am I making a bigger deal of this than it needs to be?
Should I move on?
Am I just being a perfectionist?
Problems though, no matter how large or how irritatingly tiny, are antilindy, meaning merely that the likelihood that such problems continue to exist given consistent effort and concern, dwindles. Problems, by definition, are issues that can imaginably be resolved. And for this later group of irritatingly tiny details, the deranging emotional adventure we take ourselves through to meet their resolution can seem greeted by an equally strong absurdity that such problems ever existed at all, once solved.
Checking your shoe a dozen times for a tiny pebble can seem patently ridiculous when you finally discover the pain is actually a tiny splinter in your foot.
Such small details are, unfortunately, everywhere. They stand at the beginning of projects, determined to keep us from ever starting. They populate the final steps of those same projects, throwing out one extra unexpected step just after you thought you broke through the finishing ribbon. They exist as pebbles and splinters in shoes. They in fact join together to create massive problems.
Any problem is, just a web of much smaller problems.
Deconstructing a problem into many can certainly make each problem simpler and procedurally easier to solve, but this doesn’t mean they are any less aggravating. Fine-tuning anything, be it a guitar or the placement of a graphic or the placement of punctuation, is often easy in terms of what needs to be done. A little this way, a little that way, then back a little. But when results are less than ideal, over and over, the repetition of those easy small pseudo-solutions can be maddening.
The real problem in the end is not the arbitrarily elusive solution that we eventually find. The real challenge is an emotional one. When it comes to problem solving, intelligence is not nearly as important as patience, and being able to maintain a level head in the face of frustration.
Going through that tense experience of insanity, over and over, can bring us to realms of success that others admire. But note, the admiration is generated mostly by a lack of patience, and an inability to to mindfully direct one’s own attention in possibly productive ways, over and over, no matter the set back, the frustration and every little insane detail along the way.