I had to drop my 3d animation class. It was so so hard and felt like an uphill climb every step of the way.
I really needed a beginner class before this one to introduce the program instead of diving down into an exercise of engineer-brain type compiling of a very intricate catapult in chapter four we were expected to recreate. The book was awful, and how I learn I needed a different approach, introduce tools one at a time in the beginning of the book instead of in chapter three after we used them. I feel like I was set up for failure. When I found out my options were either muddle through this class and then have to take the advanced class (this wasn’t advanced?) to earn the certificate, I panicked. I felt like I was being tortured and the catapult arm we were creating did look remarkably similar to a medieval torture device. I later heard there would be a change in the certificate’s requirements in the Fall so I could hold out for that and take two different better suited courses. The choice for me was already made.
When things are so uphill is it a sign you should stop or do you need to keep going?
I tend to hang in there for better or worse, as an overly committed and too responsible person, but what if that is not what is best? Wouldn’t it be easier if large signposts dropped from the sky directing us?
I don’t have that, so I look to the experts on investigating this question.
I found The Dip by Seth Godin in an second-hand bookstore. He writes, “You should quit if you’re on a dead-end path. You should quit if you’re facing a Cliff. You should quit if the the project you’re working on has a Dip that isn’t worth the reward at the end. Quitting the projects that don’t go anywhere is essential if you want to stick out the right ones.”
With that 3d class, I hit a Cliff and the reward in the end was learning a program I already decided was not right for me and I wouldn’t use.
Some things are full of slow growth and demand persistence. Do you stick with those? Like building a website or building a new project? Or finding a publisher. 😉 According to Godin, you need to see, after lots of work, forward movement. If there isn’t any, that’s your signpost.
So many movies I love, usually the dance movies I mentioned in a prior post, the star has to move through many obstacles in order to succeed. Usually, it’s the love of what she is doing — dancing — keeps her keeping on, so to speak, to the end. “I’m going to dance the shit out of it,” one character says at the end of Center Stage. She sticks to the love of what she’s doing — that’s her reward.
It’s the pursuit then of what you are doing. Are you still feeling joy? Are you still enjoying what you are doing? Is the process however hard at times still what you want in the end because you are enjoying the process? Or, are you miserable, having headaches, and waking up with dread or anxiety?
Martha Beck in Finding Your Own North Star, writes, if you’re feeling “choked hostility, or numb depression, or nauseated helplessness is a sure sign you’re steering away from your North Star toward a life you were not meant to live.” If it’s hard getting there and not for you, you will feel like you are carrying a ton of hard weight and will be in a low energy state, wanting to sleep all the time with no rest.
Perhaps then, when things are so hard, and you hit a huge wall, they are clear indicators you are heading the wrong way. There are signs! There are other ways to climb that tree or whatever else you are trying to accomplish. Maybe there is a better fit somewhere else. (And you have to believe that it is out there.)
Looking back at my life I see whenever it was way too hard and nothing seemed to work, I should have jumped ship and found another way to get there. Perhaps swim. And where I was meant to be, there was flow, or at least support along the way, and that joy.
Something to expand your thinking this week:
Where in your life is an endeavor way too hard? Is there an alternative that would be easier, simpler? Is it an indication you need more help or should quit? What do you think?
Until next time,
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