You’ve got a project vehicle. It’s your dream. Your friggin’ dream. And yet it sits, unloved, collecting dust in a garage or vermin in an out of the way corner of the property. You know there’s stuff you could do for next to zero dollars and you know it would feel damn good to make even a little progress on that thing.
But it’s too hot/cold/dark/wet/windy/dirty/expensive/etc/etc. This is the struggle.
You are not alone. We all face the struggle from time to time. Left unchecked, the struggle only grows. Your project, once a sign of opportunity and potential, will turn into a constant reminder of your own failure to do something about it.
You will grow to resent your project. You will decide it’s time to get something new. You will ask yourself, “What’s the point?” You will move from one unfinished project to another, over and over again, until you just decide to join the poseurs and buy something fast out of the box.
I know this because I’ve just walked through that door. I posted my would-be rally/race car for sale and readied myself to walk away from my automotive dream of eight years because I got tired of being reminded of just how big a slacker I am every time I walk into my garage.
Within 24 hours of running the “What’s the Point?” story, I had a good friend and mentor offer to officially mentor me so long as I put forth the effort and do the work. The first thing I did was make a list of everything that needed to be done. Next, I took a giant leap off the couch, tearing myself away from Breaking Bad to take some small steps in the garage.
The holiday weekend arrived, there were pool parties, it was hot, I had a list of errands and chores a mile long that had to get done. It would have been super easy for me to just reward myself with a couple hours in front of the idiot box (television) catching up on the adventures of a New Mexico science teacher gone rogue.
I forced myself to make progress on the race car instead.
The hardest part about building a race car in your spare time with the nickels and dimes you find between the seat cushions isn’t the heat or the cold or the weather. It isn’t the cost of materials. It’s overcoming the desire to do something – anything – other than the work.
Don’t you want to go for a Sunday drive on a twisty road?
Don’t you want to load up the gear and go camping?
Don’t you want to show off all your hard work?
We can’t do any of that unless we’re willing to do the work.
It might not sound like much, but I got the steering rack out of my
would-be one-day rally/race car this weekend. Whereas I spent an hour and a half tinkering with the cruise control the week before, I spent a good three hours under the car Monday and this is what I have to show for it.
I’m going to remove the 4WS (4-wheel steering) lines and cap the rack fittings, then make my way to the rear of the car, removing the rear diff (with the rear steering rack) for replacement with an LSD unit.
Next time I go to the shop, I’m taking serviceable parts with me. I know I cannot escape the struggle. I know it will win a fight or two along the way, but I will win the war. I will press on regardless.
Each time out, it gets a little easier.
- What are you going to get done on your project this weekend?
- How do you keep yourself motivated on long term projects?