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Every journey starts with a single step, right? If you don't have a plan for your journey then that first step might be one back.


First steps can be strange that way.


"First things first" is ironically the 3rd of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. What Dr. Covey doesn't explain is that sometimes the first thing takes two weeks. He hints at it by calling it 'long term development' but where does that fit on my daily list?


Sure the first thing was urgent, but the second thing, that only takes a few hours--that was not getting done because of the first thing--still needs to get done.


And I'm not talking about a second thing that has anything to do with the first thing, like, first plant a garden and, second wash the kids sheets. Those are unrelated...even if the kids are helping to plant the garden. On a list there is only one first thing.


The thing about 'things' first or second on your list is that they are not just any 'thing'. A thing is only a thing when that thing has a duration of less than a few hours. Even a marathon is not a 'thing'. It's a many things that all add up to the the thing that we refer to as a marathon, even though we just said it was a thing.


'Plant a garden' is a 'project' not a thing. Semantics front and center.


Aha!


A project is made up of 'tasks' that become 'things' on a list. When completed in a sequence these things should result in a garden. 'Things' on an effective list should each take less than a day: Plan Garden. Rake a spot to remove weeds. Till and supplement the soil. Install fence. Set up sprinklers. Plant Seeds. (Raised bed gardens may have a few more steps but the sequence is similar.) This makes room for 'wash the kids sheets' as a thing to be done during the 'project' of planting a garden, in between tasks.


Looking an entire week or month ahead dramatically brings clarity to what's reasonable.


The Land of Oz in the distance represents your 'project' and the 'things' your lists should feel like sections of the yellow brick road stretched out before you. The bricks or the roadway keep you from wandering off.

The moment we find ourselves putting down one yellow brick at a time in order to step forward is the moment we find ourselves out of control. With this in mind, the expression, "Step back," makes more sense.


Make a plan.


That brings us right back to the other 7 habits:


1 - Be proactive.

2 - Begin with the end in mind.

3 - First things first.

4 - Think win-win.

5 - Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

6 - Synergize!

7 - Sharpen the Saw; Growth.


There was no 'thing' on my list today other than "first things first" so I'll reserve my comments on the other 6 for another day

Onward.

Creativity starts with the unfamiliar.


The creative process may start with the familiar, but creativity itself--by definition--is the act of discovering, reveling or imagining something unfamiliar.


In the weeks that have passed and the weeks or months yet to come there will be no shortage of unfamiliar scenarios, and so, too, I'm guessing will there be more creativity.


Every day is a feast for what we can imagine or fear or both.


In time, this crazy situation may become the 'new normal' and as 'normal' attempts to return it might start to feel a bit crazy. Regardless, riding this out, either up or down from this point, will still technically feel unfamiliar.


Is this beginning to sound a lot like surfing? Ahh, the thought of surfing.


Tsunami has been mentioned on more than one occasion, but this is more than just one big wave.






Annie Dillard opened chapter 5 of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek with, “Yesterday I set out to catch the new season, and instead I found an old snakeskin.”


She went on to explain that someone had thrown away an aquarium deep in the woods and a snake appeared as though it may have used it to get out of their skin.


The chapter delightfully wanders and wonders on an on about the snake skin in that sort of way that many of us used to wonder and wander at this time of year.


This year seems different.


As the buds are waking up on the trees and the bulbs are starting to smile for the first time, we are home. We are home to enjoy them.


We home to witness the coming of spring on a day-by-day basis instead of one weekend at a time.


For that we can be grateful.



Peter Bysshe

P.0. Box 427

Waccabuc, NY

10597

​​

646.342.5210​

peter@bysshetank.com

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