Sense of indirection

There’s an old story of the chap driving around an unfamiliar town in his car, lost and unable to find the place he’s looking for. Completely at a loss, he spots a local at the side of the road, pulls over, winds down the window and and asks the pedestrian if he knows how to get to where he wants to be. “Yes”, comes the answer, “but if I were you, I wouldn’t start from here!” – this has absolutely nothing to do with what i’m about to say next, but i promise i’ll come back to it later.

If there’s one thing i’m notorious for, it’s multi-multi-multi-tasking and, despite the potential for complete disaster/burnout/confusion, i usually manage to keep all the plates spinning at the same time with little difficulty. Whether rl or sl, at any given time i’m likely to have several projects, ideas, plans and activities on the go over the same period of time, and there’s no accounting for the diverse nature of these things either – in sl (which is what you’re probably more interested in), this may well be everything from landscaping to building, to learning new skills and exploring new ways of getting the most out of sl. The only trouble is, i’m equally notorious for starting a job and never quite getting around to finishing it – consequently, although i may have a million or so projects on the boil, it’s highly likely that a good proportion of them will have stalled, some will be ‘resting’, others will be in a state of semi-completeness and awaiting the ‘right’ moment, opportunity or state of mind before they reach anything like completion. That’s not to say i leave things undone… it just means that some activities may enjoy an extraordinarily long hiatus between inception and finished article – eventually, given time, i do get things done.

i’m reminded of a sudden outburst of decorating fervour some years ago which had me up into the early hours on many occasions, hanging wallpaper, painting woodwork and generally having lots of fun with stepladders and brushes. That was until the energy ran out and the enjoyment was replaced by an ever-growing sense that i’d taken on a challenge that put painting the Forth Bridge and the Cistene Chapel ceiling into little league. Even so, i battled on until all that was left was a short length of skirting that needed glossing… i decided to take a break. Four years later, i finally go around to finishing the job!

To illustrate the point further, it seems that i’ve managed to abandon my original thread, to go off on a seemingly unrelated tangent – i shall now return to where i left off…

In order to see any project or continuing activity through to its end conclusion , you need a certain sense of direction and destination. Blues skies thinking is all very well for developing concepts, but when it comes to turning those concepts into actions you need to have some sort of an idea about how you’re going to not only achieve an end result, but also some sort of understanding about how you’ll recognise that you’ve arrived there! It’s in this particular area than many people appear to be singularly inept – there’s a lucrative living to be had in the real world in the field of project management for this very reason, although, if the truth be told, Gannt charts, PERT charts, Critical Paths, PRINCE2, TCM and all the other terribly clever stuff that these people bring into play exist for only two reasons: a) To make the whole business of project management seem terribly complex, thereby making project managers/consultants seem terribly clever, and; b) To justify the exhorbitant cost of hiring someone to do a job you could probably do just as easily with nothing more complicated than a pencil and the back of an envelope, over a couple of beers in the pub. By the way, if you read though all those links i just gave you, congratulations! You are now a fully qualified Project Manager!

Dammit… that’s another tangent!

Back to my theme – if we intend getting anything done, we really need a sense of where we’re going; a direction to proceed in.

So, what happens, when you lose your sense of direction?

Coming to think of it, sl not being your typical ‘gaming’ environment – with specific goals, targets and tasks to complete – is unfinished business, incomplete designs and stalled projects such a bad thing anyway? After all, we all need downtime occasionally, and no matter how much we may consider ourselves to be driven individuals, there will be times in sl, as there will be in rl, when things are left undone simply because we can only spread ourselves so thinly. That however, feels defeatist and goes against the grain – nevertheless, there is another way to look at it: perfection and the achievement of goals are noble aims, but aims that for most of us will necessarily always lie ahead, at some unspecified point at which we have not yet arrived – indeed if perfection and success in achieving our goals was an easy thing to attain, what would there be to spur us onward? The simple fact is that without those unfinished projects and those dreams that are still stuck in the pipeline somewhere, we have little to inspire us to keep trying – it’s pointless being driven, if we have nowhere to go!

So, as i look with frustration at that empty corner of Nowhere Land, sigh at the complete folly of my enormous – yet empty – tube station, and inwardly groan when i think that The Gallery is well overdue for a new exhibition, perhaps i should stop and think for a moment, and be grateful. You see, as long as there’s things to be be finished and perfection has yet to be achieved, then there will be always something to keep me going, something to compel me to do better – and i think that’s probably a very good thing!

s. x

Arriving somewhere but not here
All my designs simplified
And all of my plans compromised
Porcupine Tree – Arriving Somewhere But Not Here 

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