It’s hard, until it’s easy

I’ve been sprinting recently toward the completion of my dissertation, and there’s one thing that’s consistently true for me in writing.

Writing is a practice with uneven returns. It’s a slog. It’s hard. You feel lost. You push, push, push. And then – in a moment – everything clicks, comes together, and that section is done!

There are a number of areas of life that are like that. We expect projects to have linear progress: 1+1=2. But in an increasingly complex world, there are some actions we can take where 1+1=0 and others where 1+1=12. There’s no way to know on the front end when or what the payoff will be.

In complex systems, success is about 1) choosing the projects you’re willing to push through and 2) being willing to stick with it until success comes (or abandon at a pre-determined point). It won’t always happen when or how you’d expect.

And now, it’s back to slogging through the next section of that dissertation.

2 responses to “It’s hard, until it’s easy”

  1. Does this mean chapter 4 is done??!!!???

    1. Maybe we need to clarify “section” vs. “chapter.” There’s progress, but the chapter will probably be about 70 pages long. I’m at about 40 pages now.

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