“lest hand or courage be dulled by disuse…”
Augustine – Confessions
There are times when it would be easier to do little or nothing. There are times when it would seem easier to do just enough to keep from getting in trouble, just enough to pass the class, just enough to keep the job and nothing more. It would be great to come in exactly at 8:00 and leave exactly at 5:00. There are times when it would be nice to watch TV or play an online game or surf the Internet instead of working on one’s Purpose. More specifically, and more personally, there are times when it would seem easier if the Muse hadn’t selected me to do what she asks me to do.
It would seem easier…but it’s not. It never is. It’s less effortful, but it’s not easier. To ignore my Muse makes my life harder. To ignore her means to ignore the possibilities that life offers. To ignore her means to ignore – and miss – opportunities for a better, happier, fuller life.
Forget easy. There’s no such thing. What there really is, is a choice, to pay now or pay later. Paying now can be less convenient, take more effort and planning, and force us to stay focused. But it also creates a sense of joy and enthusiasm. Tonight, for example, I worked on something for work, that I absolutely did not have to do. And it’s possible that no one will appreciate what I’ve done. I worked on it when I didn’t have to do so. And as I did so, I felt joy, enthusiasm, and an excitement for my work that I haven’t felt in a while.
The principle of paying now is very simple, very basic, not original with me, and stated more effectively elsewhere. Sir Isaac Newton says that bodies at rest tend to stay at rest. But too much rest becomes ennui, apathy, and entropy. Eventually, it becomes a spiritual, emotional, or physical death.
Here’s a very simple way to look at it. When I get home at night, I have some choices to make. I can put my clothes away or drop them on the floor. I can wash the dishes or leave them in the sink. I can get the morning coffee ready or I can do it in the morning. Whatever I delay eventually has to get done. Otherwise I create stress, more stress than if I just do it now. I also create a disorderly environment and this wears on me after a while. I have more tolerance for disorder than some (translation: I’m a bit of a mess sometimes), but sooner or later my soul requires order. It’s always better when it’s sooner.
So we write or work or create when we don’t have to, when it’s not always convenient or (initially) easy. Eventually, our lives revolve around this, because it is the reason we are here, or at least one of the reasons. The ability to Get Started and to Keep Going is one of the reasons I’m here.