“Never leave a job half done.” My grandfather told me that as a boy. I haven’t forgotten those words, even if at times I have failed to act on them. He had been sitting, watching me finish a simple drawing one afternoon before I had decided to wander off before it was complete. In his way, he didn’t say anything at the time, but waited instead until I came back to sit down with him for lunch.
“You know that drawing you were doing before?” In my mind I was anticipating some sort of compliment or critique.
“You didn’t finish it…” He stated objectively. “Never leave a job half done.”
As a boy I didn’t think much about it until after his passing. Today, the more I reflect on the sentiment of his words, the more profoundly his advice affects me.
The more I think about it, the more it seems like everything he said to me had some intentionally deeper meaning he had planned and percolated on before he brought his words, or actions, into the world.
We, as individuals, are not just responsible for our choices or the paths we decide to walk down, but also for making sure we finish what we start.
In my moments of laziness or procrastination, I have asked myself why? Why should I finish this? I suppose that this is the crux of the entire message my grandfather was trying to impart to me; the reason he would have said this to me in the first place. The simplest answer I have been able to find in response is this: Self Respect.
I think that finishing what we start is the ultimate reflection of your capacity for respect of yourself. I’ve known so many students to validate their own negative self talk by quitting on their responsibilities, or conversely quitting on their responsibilities and establishing a narrative of negative self perception which they continue to reinforce. After we see how easy it is to quit once, we start to develop a habit of quitting, because it seems easier. It isn’t. Every time we quit something, for any reason, it erodes a level of our belief in ourselves and our ability to complete something. How can we be proud of something that we quit on? No one walks around with their head held high having only half finished a job.
The ability to follow through is something I think is closely tied to our capacity to respect ourselves; whether that be seeing the work day through fully, committing to a relationship, sport or other responsibility.
When we start down the path of any journey, we need to anticipate the highs and lows and accept that, even when we feel like it, quitting should not be an option. This is all a part of a common (unintended) theme I find that is building across my posts; building a resilience, discipline and will within yourself to pursue what you want in your life.