There’s a difference between taking a few extra minutes to do something right, and spending more than a few extra minutes trying to make something perfect. The first is likely to make sure something works, the second is likely a form of procrastination.
In a flat, of which mine is an example, it can be tempting as an individual to do the minimum possible amount of looking after the place, in the hope others will pick up the slack. Whether active or unintentional ignorance this is frustrating for the person who notices what needs doing, and just gets stuck in and does it. Every time. Jocko Willink has some good advice about many things, and I keep coming back to it. It’s common sense, often known but not followed. Things we don’t want to do which help ourselves and others? Do them without being asked. Rules we don’t want to follow but don’t hurt anyone? Follow them more stringently than anyone would think possible. People at work that grind our gears and just seem like dicks? Work hard to build rapport and positive relationships. How much more motivated will we be to do the things we love if we can succeed at doing things we don’t?
It is all too easy to see the little others do and fall into the trap of doing the same, putting in the minimum amount of effort to get by. This inevitably makes more work for someone further down the line. If you put your dishes on the bench instead of emptying the dishwasher, you’re making someone else do it. If you leave a mess in the kitchen, the bathroom, the living room, any room that isn’t only yours, someone else has to clean it up. If you rush through a task to get it off your plate rather than doing it well, someone else has to fix your mistakes. If you don’t start changing your behaviour to help the earth, someone else has to work at least twice as hard to pick up your slack. By letting each of these things slide from us doing them to someone else doing them we are saying our time is more important than theirs. It’s not. Even if it is unintentional ignorance, it is still ignorance. Take the time to notice and learn. Nodding and saying yes but not doing what we know are being asked is failing grandly at rule number one of life. Chores at home, tasks at work, getting to know people, being a sound engineer, coaching a sports team, trusting in God, looking after our planet – whatever it is – there are no shortcuts to doing it well. Put in the effort and do it to the best of your ability.
How lovely is it when you receive work and it is impeccably done? How lovely is it when we go to clean something and it is less work because others have been on top of it? How lovely is it when people check in, and then respect our request for space to breathe our reaching out for help because we are ready? How lovely is it when people do something nice for us without the expectation of anything in return?
I’d bet the answer to these questions is that it is very lovely indeed. Be the person that pays kindness forward. Not to get anything in return, but to make the world a better place.
The amount of time we are blessed to walk this earth is finite. One of my best friends, bless her beautiful heart, spent every second meaningfully. Use your time well. Make the lives of family, flatmates, and friends easier by paying attention to the little things that matter to them. They might seem inconsequential to us, but if we put ourselves in their shoes occasionally, and put our pride aside, life will be better. We will create even more meaningful relationships.
Be good, keep good, and sleep good, dear readers. Peace.