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The Payoff

“The Muse does not count hours. She counts commitment. It is possible to be one hundred percent committed ten percent of the time. The goddess understands.” — Steven Pressfield, Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be

Every morning I write for an hour or two, publish this blog, store a few collected bits for another day, and mentally flip the switch back to active participant in the rest of my life. That blog, Alexandersmap.com, is admittedly clunky, heavy on WordPress coding that I don’t really want to understand, and probably the opposite of cool. It’s the equivalent of a DIY project at home, that professionals politely nod and smile at when you invite them over. I can only hope for retro vibes if I hold out long enough.

I’ve been slowly slogging through three books of philosophy. They’re heavy because they aren’t page turners, not really, though each is filling in the blanks for me in a life mostly focused on not wrestling with philosophical questions. We get busy, don’t we? But some things are worth our time and effort. I read a few pages of each book each morning, and attempt the same at night. I’m locally famous for my night reading, and acknowledge that it’s not my most effective time to wrestle with heavy books. Still, I persist.

The thing is, we know the small habits that make up our lives pay off in the end, but there are days when we wonder if it’s worth the effort at all. Incremental progress is hard to get excited about. We all want the big payoff when we do something important to us, but forget sometimes that the payoff is who we are gradually becoming in the process of doing the work.

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