Fun fact: for this post I typed "waiting" into the Unsplash search bar to see what would come up and this photo of a lighthouse[1] was one of the photos. At first, I was a little confused, but when I thought on it... A lighthouse's entire concept revolves around waiting. There's someone there waiting on ships to come into port. There's a lighthouse worker waiting for their replacement so they can end their shift. It's rather romantic, isn't it? No wonder that popular novel (now movie) The Light Between Oceans is set on a lighthouse island.

Tonight I want to talk briefly about delays and how aggravating they can be.

Normally when I have to go into work at 11AM or 12PM, I don't really eat before I go in. This is because I think to myself "Oh, 12 is so far away! I'll eat later." And then "later" never comes and I'm running out the door and my stomach growls at me in indignation until my lunch break. So today I decided to leave my place 30 minutes early to have time to stop somewhere and eat.

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I had a delicious lunch because this beautiful sushi platter was on sale for just $9.99. Nice! So I left for work (still early) thinking I'd get there 15-20 minutes early and could just chill, play games on my phone, you know.

Unfortunately, there was a car accident on the highway and it backed traffic up to the point where I went from being 20 minutes early to 2 minutes late. I called ahead while I was still on the road so I wasn't in trouble for being late or anything, but I was bummed because I didn't get to take my time leisurely. I rushed into the building and rushed onto the floor.

Oh, the best part is I left my house wearing two different shoes. I wasn't even in a rush when I left! I didn't notice the shoes until I was at work and thought to myself "Why does it feel like I'm limping???" and looked down and realized. Gah.

When you've got momentum going, any sort of delay feels like the end of the world. Mel Robbins came up with this 5 second rule that basically the following (lifted from her blog):

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It's not saying you need to just act without thinking, but it's a way of tricking your brain into allowing you to be more productive. That's because delays are very easy and momentum—once stopped—is hard to get going again. Your brain starts coming up with excuses for why you can't do something, you lose motivation, and your mood plummets. That's kind of how I felt this morning, thinking "Wow, I was going to be early and get my day started right, but now I'm rushing and it's not even my fault!" It dampened my entire work day and I wasn't as motivated as usual because I felt like things were out of my own control.

When I thought on it, I could have left my place much earlier than I did. I had planned to! I actually wanted to go and get brunch around 10:30 at a place near work (and bring along my Freewrite), but I ended up putzing around until that leisurely brunch turned into a quick pre-made meal at the local Japanese supermarket. So me thinking that it wasn't my fault I was running late was kind of a rationalization. Yeah, it wasn't my fault there was traffic, but if I'd just stuck to my original plan, then the traffic wouldn't have affected me.

I spend so much time second-guessing myself and procrastinating on things I want to do—all because I'm so afraid of failure. I need to plan and worry less—and do more. There's a fine line between pushing myself to do what I need to do and overpressuring myself to the point of collapse. Still, I need to challenge myself and find that line instead of just assuming that I can't. The line is further than I think; and I am much stronger than I think.

Aren't we all?


  1. Now the featured picture for this post because I was intrigued. ↩︎