Wise Words of the Day: Double the Labor With Half the Exertion

A sunny disposition is the very soul of success, enabling a man to do double the labor that he could without it, and to do it with half the physical and mental exhaustion. ~ William Mathews

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When I was a graduate student, you could always tell when I had a paper due because our apartment was usually spotless, I would be sewing up a storm, and I had cooked enough food to put in the freezer to last us years.  I loved doing the research part.  I hated doing the writing part (for me, scholarly writing is soooo boring compared to writing, say, a blog).  I would do everything else but my paper because I had such a negative attitude about writing the paper.

The thing is, once I finally would get started, I could usually get it done in no time, relatively speaking.  I had used all of that energy avoiding my work when I could have just written it and gotten it done without all of the avoidance drama (although there is much to be said for a clean house and not needing to cook for a very long time…)

Today, William Mathews reminds us that we are the ones making a task or job harder than it needs to be because of a negative attitude.  No, I will never, ever, sing the joys of cleaning the toilets.  But I don’t think I need to get too graphic to describe the consequences of not cleaning them because we all know them.  I can just do it and be done with it in a few minutes or waste a lot of mental energy on avoiding the task.

When I just do what I need to do that isn’t going to be all joy, joy, fun, fun, I have the satisfaction of having completed it and enjoying the benefits of having that task completed–such as a clean home or paper written.

Do you have a task that you are making harder because of a negative attitude?

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Dr. Julie-Ann

I'm Dr. Julie-Ann, living life in its Technicolor finest by channeling my Grandma, Donna Reed, and June Cleaver with a bit of Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly glamour thrown in for good measure, too. I work outside of the home full-time as a university administrator but I nourish my soul and find my greatest happiness by trying to be the "perfect" 1950s homemaker.

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    Perhaps as you sewed and pursued other activities, that paper was actually taking shape in your thoughts. Instead of dedicating yourself to sitting and thinking and doodling with your pencil, you were accomplishing other tasks while thinking through what you wanted to set on the page.

    Tasks do seem to loom larger when I put them off. Housecleaning is one of them. Cleaning isn’t really hard at all. It’s clearing out the clutter and making decisions that’s difficult.
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