March 29, 2007

Obsessing on the Unfinished

by Gregg Krech

Michael C. Gilbert wrote a thought provoking essay about our preoccupation with the unfinished. He says,


If you were to judge your tasks by how much attention and emotional investment they get, you would think that only those things that are not yet done are of any importance. Do you understand what I’m saying? We don’t build up a list of completed tasks over the course of the day, we cross off a list of things to do. We don’t put up a sticky note as a reminder of an important accomplishment, we put up notes of things that we need to do.
There is something horribly out of balance in this. Through force of repetition, this habit deludes us into seeing the deficits and scarcities in our lives more easily than the accomplishments and resources. It distorts and undermines our motivation because the future never really comes and we don’t adequately internalize our completed work. I truly believe that the message we get, deep inside, is that only the unfinished is important.

Now, you probably have used some type of to-do list, whether on a sheet of scrap paper or on your computer. And you know the experience Gilbert is talking about. We start off with our inventory of things undone and then race . . .

You can read or download the entire essay from the Spring 2007 edition of Thirty Thousand Days here

Michael Gilbert's blog . . .
Posted on March 29, 2007 11:35 AM

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