15. Light your lazy dynamite
Henry Ford used to point out to his colleagues that there wasn’t any job that couldn’t be handled if they were willing to break it down into little pieces. When you’ve broken a job down, remember to allow yourself some slow motion in beginning the first piece. Just take it slow and easy. It isn’t important how fast you are doing it. What’s important is that you are doing it.
Most of our hardest jobs never seem to get done. The mere thought of doing the whole job, at a high energy level, is frequently too off-putting to allow motivation to occur. A good way to ease yourself into that motivation is to act as if you were the laziest person on the planet. (It wasn’t much of an act) By accepting that you’re going to do your task in a slow and lazy way, there is no anxiety or dread about getting it started. In fact, you can even have fun by entering into it as if you were in a slow-motion comedy, flowing into the work like a person made of water.
But the paradox is that the slower you start something, the faster you will be finished. When you first think about doing something hard or overwhelming, you are most aware of how you don’t want to do it at all. In other words, the mental picture you have of the activity, of doing it fast and furiously, is not a happy picture. So you think of ways to avoid doing the job altogether. The thought of starting slowly is an easy thought. And doing it slowly allows you to actually start doing it. Therefore it gets finished.
Another thing that happens when you flow into a project slowly is that speed will often overtake you without you forcing it. The natural rhythm inside you will get you in sync with what you are doing. You’ll be surprised how soon your conscious mind stops forcing the action and your subconscious mind supplies you with easy energy.
Take your time. Start out lazy. Soon, your tasks will be keeping the slow but persistent rhythm of that hypnotic song on Paul McCartney’s Red Rose Speedway album, “Oh lazy Dynamite.” The dynamite is living inside you. You don’t have to be frenzied about setting it off. It lights just as well with a slowly struck match.