The Threshold between Despair and Delight

A mini-insight arose in the Wave regarding the difference a positive attitude makes when you’re chipping away at the endless mountain of goal-related tasks. When the mountain seems frickin’ huge, we often feel despair followed by loss of motivation. However, if one is able to somehow push through that and make things happen, there is a point where enough hard-won pieces chain together to create a trickle of results. At first, the trickle may start in a burst and sputters out. So we tinker, trying to puzzle the thing out to make it flow again, energized by the possibility but not quite sure what it means.

One reason I’ve been feeling positive is because the years of work, which have not been particularly focused, have started to create that affirming trickle of results. I can now imagine it growing into a life-sustaining river. Specifically, I’m talking about the sales on Amazon.com of my various stationery products. The sales are small but steady, and seem to grow as I add more products to the line. It took several years of learning stuff I didn’t want to learn (namely, e-commerce) and getting over my own issues (as in wondering if people would hate what I did). I’m still not exactly sure what I’m doing, but it’s incredibly satisfying to watch. The trickle is able to sustain itself, more or less, without my daily input. It’s alive!

There were times in the past three years where I dragged my feet and procrastinated, not liking the way that e-commerce (and in many ways business itself) is a confusing maze governed by the made-up rules of a thousand lords of a thousand toll-sucking fiefdoms. I was irritated with the low quality of the affordable solutions and the bureaucracy that impeded implementation of the better ones. The tricky part is finding the combination of affordable services, quality-minded guides, and reliable sources of raw material that make possible the creation of a trickle-generating machine. In a more general sense, this process is true of ANY endeavor, be it learning how to program video games, learning how to run a team, or mastering any art form. The best guides, I think, help you see the totality of that chain while clearly demonstrating the application of the skills you must possess. That helps stave off the despair during those long years of training.

The threshold between energy-sapping despair and life-giving delight, I think, happens when you can start to see the trickle and gain confidence that it’s strong enough to sustain itself. You then have something you can observe and interact with, which helps clarify your focus much in the way having children does: NUTURE, LIVE, AND GROW! Growth can be in terms of size, or it can be in terms of excellence. In any case, you have crossed a threshold that you may not have recognized existed. I certainly didn’t, until now.