The Psychological Win

There are many tedious chores in life. Chores that must simply get done.

During our last camping trip of the summer, to Mooselookmeguntic Lake, Cindy and I began using the phrase: Psychological Win.

You see, after you’ve had several amazing days of camping, you ultimately have to pack everything up. When gazing upon your campsite, on the morning of departure, you observe gear strewn everywhere. The tent (which contains sleeping bags, pillows, blankets), the easy-up, tarps, chairs, coolers, fishing gear, cooking station and all the related supplies.

It can seem just a little daunting to get all of that packed up in such a way that it fits in the canoe so that you only have to make a SINGLE trip back to the mainland. That, without capsizing, which we can gladly say has not happened to us (yet?).

The reality is, however, the gear isn’t going to pack itself, so you must get to work.

I like to tackle things in a way that provides a sense of accomplishment (a psychological win). So, instead of making a little progress on a whole bunch of things, I like to get specific tasks done: completely!

As each task is done you actually feel that much closer to the goal. Just like placing the next piece in a puzzle.

I realize the above is a pretty trivial example. However, we have recently taken this (packing) to the next level.

Packing for a move, well, just plain sucks!

As mentioned in the prior post, we have lived in our current home for over 20 years. In that timeframe, raising 4 boys, we accumulated a ton of stuff. “Fortunately”, several years ago, we had a mold problem in our basement, resulting from a pipe break that occurred years before. Over time, the unnoticed, remaining moisture grew into a…situation. Since we had a great deal of “stuff” stored there, we had a choice: clean each item to remove any mold that may have accumulated or throw it out.

We made the easy decision: rent a dumpster and empty the basement – completely! During the process we had to turn off our emotions and just keep lugging stuff out of the house and tossing it. The PURGE was extremely beneficial. And, we don’t miss a THING, other than that antique clock given to us by my grandparents: Cindy will NOT let me forget that 🙂

Fast forward several years and somehow more stuff accumulated (sans the mold)…

Since we are downsizing, we had to get rid of more stuff to avoid packing it. We have done so by:

  • Giving things to the boys (they made out like bandits)
  • Making frequent trips to Goodwill
  • Selling things on craiglist (which I LOVE doing 🙂 )
  • Loading up our trash and recycle bins

Even with all of this purging, there is still a bunch of stuff that remains. Needed stuff that we will bring with us.

As we look around the house, today, much is packed. However, there is still much to do:

  • Clean out that closet
  • Pack the dishes
  • Pack our clothing
  • Tear down the bed
  • Load the truck (tomorrow’s task)
  • Etc., etc.

We simply look at each other and say: “What is the next psychological win you want to go for?

It is really another way of saying: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

So, we are almost there (packed). So far, we have maintained our sanity by simply chipping away at things as we go for the next psychological win – another completed task. And, by remembering our destination 🙂

All the best!

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