When we remodeled our kitchen I clearly remember taking out the old cabinets with Dad. They were pretty old school and fastened way more tightly than they needed to be. Had I realized it sooner we could’ve just hidden in the cabinets in case of a tornado!
I remember working myself into a lather twisting and pulling and wrenching and prying with my crowbar to remove them. At times I swung it like a hammer and then proceeded to use a sledgehammer when the frame refused to move. All the while I was sweating like a dog and out of breath… and Dad just sat there and smiled while watching me, even chuckling sometimes.
After a while Dad stepped in and asked for the crowbar. The specific piece wasn’t coming out and my temper was flaring. I handed to him and smiled. There was no way he was going to get it out. He flashed me an even bigger smile and calm walked up to the cabinet. He positioned his crowbar and gave it a little nudge. He moved it about an inch and applied a slight amount of pressure. Dad then looked at me, smiled, and, with almost no effort, popped the cabinet right out of place. Then his smile got even bigger.
“Mikey, while you’re young and strong you think you can power your way through anything. When you get older and your strength fades a little you have to learn to use your head more than your muscle.”
He then proceeded to share the lessons he’d learned from an old timer while working demolition in Milwaukee. He’d shared with Dad the secret to being able to stay healthy and sane while doing demolition… never waste a movement and work as little as you have to. This didn’t mean sloughing off or anything. If you pause for a moment to consider the best way to do something you can accomplish much more with less effort. Apply the pressure in the right place and work is minimal. Don’t think and just use brute force and you’ll wear yourself out in no time.
The lesson in a nutshell? Think twice, act once, complete more. Take time to think and work with your brain and you’ll save your physical strength to accomplish more. I’ll never forget that lesson – thanks Dad!
Today I’m also thankful for the implementation of that lesson. As I prep for heading out on vacation soon time is definitely not my ally in one manner, but is the most motivating of companions in the other. With less than a few days to work with I am working on creating space to accomplish about two weeks of work (both work work and personal work). Time is not on my side, but the lack of time is helping me get into that hyper focus that seems to always precede vacation.
With limited time I don’t have the luxury of missing any of it. This means I must think, plan, and act quickly on each task. The more I pause to quickly plan the more I can quickly accomplish. Just like in using the crowbar I have to think twice (quickly) and act once in order to get everything done. Throughout the day I’ve thought of Dad with the crowbar and have been doing my best to see how I can save a little time by thinking through the right action so there’s no wasted thought.