Have you ever wanted to quit?
Have you ever started a project bright-eyed, busy-tailed, and ever-optimistic? Have you ever thought– this project will be easy.
Then, and rather suddenly– did the project prove difficult? Did things go wrong? Did you sweat and swear and want to quit?
This week, Cindy asked if I could replace an old toilet seat with a new one.
Sure. No problem. How hard could replacing a toilet set be– it’s a matter of unscrewing and screwing two simple bolts.
My first eye-contact with the blue-eyed truth came when I realized how little space there was behind the toilet to work.
In order to install the new seat, I first had to unscrew a plastic nut from the existing toilet seat. The nuts, tucked behind the toilet seat were old (I’m estimating 30 years or so) and tight. They were also deformed and—well, nasty.
I tried a standard wrench then a socket wrench then pliers then a file then, out of frustration, a knife.
Finally, with a chisel and hammer and many attempts, I was able to split the nut in two and remove the first of two bolts.
Halfway to the finish line.
Then we got hit with some violent thunderstorms and lost power for 21 hours.
So the old toilet seat, loose, still hanging by one bolt remained in the dark–wobbly waiting for me.
When the electric returned and I went back to work on the second nut.
Pliers, wrenches– nothing.
This time I used an electric drill and drilled holes into the plastic nut until it simply fell apart.
It took me all of five minutes to install the new toilet seat. Mission accomplished.
Finish line crossed.
Now, why do I tell you this? Because I’m staring a handyman business?
I want you to know I’ve been abandoning projects when I encountered the first problem or setback for years.
It’s too hard. I’m not skilled enough or smart enough or patient enough.
Accomplishing a goal is hard. Writing a book, losing weight, saving money, repairing a broken relationship, replacing an old toilet seat takes work– and it’s often not pretty work.
You curse, grunt, sweat, throw up your hand, shake your head, talk to yourself, and yell at anyone who asks you, “How’s it going?” (Sorry Cindy.)
In that little bathroom, there were moments when I thought, We’ll just have to get used to a wobbly toilet seat.
And, if your like me, how often do we make that comprise?
We quit a project in progress because we’re convinced we can’t finish it. Yet, every time I would go to the bathroom I would be reminded of a project I didn’t have the guts to finish.
To paraphrase my father– it’s okay to get frustrated but it’s never okay to quit.
Throughout my life, I’ve been fortunate to have watched (and helped) my father work on dozens of house hold projects. I’ve seen him get frustrated, seen him retreat in thought, seen him reread the instruction manual– but I’ve never seen him quit. Ever.
What ever project you’re working on right now–I hope you persist.
I hope you grind through your setbacks and frustrations.
And I hope you heartily resist the urge to quit.
Because the world doesn’t need another wobbly toilet seat.
The world needs your work.
BTW–The “toilet seat incident” was Day 15 (and 16) of the 21 Day Challenge. The challenge was to fix a nagging problem.
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