Anything we wish to make, anything we want to do requires things to come together in some weave of a network - stuff that isn't normally connected gets integrated.
Parts link up into a whole That could be people, or technology or skills or money or ideas or knowledge or a little bit of all of the above.
One of the most powerful ideas my masters taught me was that everything has functional conditions from which it arises.
Once these conditions come together, the thing comes into existence.
That became a key for my long life in design and development. Someone would come to me and ask if I could do something. If it seemed within my scope of knowledge and experience or if it seemed remotely comprehensible to me, I would typically say, "sure," only to find myself saying later, "Now, how am I going to pull this off?'
To even begin with the design, I had to learn what this was. How was it used? Are there others like it? Who knows anything about this kind of thing?
By asking lots of questions, knowledge poured in and a picture of how this could be done would begin to organize. I would start to understand the conditions required to bring this thing into existence.
Once I had that, I would begin to make models - doodles, sketches, diagrams, circles, boxes and arrows with words that described the parts and all of their relationships. If I was going to actually physically construct it, these sketched would turn into detailed, scaled drawings that showed all the critical relationships of the parts becoming the whole.
Once I stood back and looked at it, I not only knew more about what it took to make it come into existence, I could also begin to identify problems, things I was missing or leaving out or trouble I would face as I tried to make it.
With this detailed plan, I would double that effort and begin to describe every step by step act it would take to make this happen. Attached to each step would be a description of the materials and technology required and the price those parts demand.
I built my project twice on paper before I ever attempted to physically construct the design: once as a scaled drawing, once as a detailed production plan.
Imagine how much time went into this imaginary effort. I spent time and money making this plan come together but all I would have to show for it was a pile of paper - the diagrams, drawings, instructions and pricing I created.
Because I had to bid for every project, I did this preliminary work so I could make a proposal and hopefully get the project. On average, I would get the job about 30% of the time. For the other 70%, all of that effort was a complete loss of my time...except...
- I learned to see how the whole of any one thing evolves out of its parts and that
- those parts are often as complex as the whole.
- I learned to see the scope of what I was doing.
- I learned to see how everything we undertake is created from many more smaller creations.
All of that takes time.
Any one effort takes time. All of the smaller efforts adding up into a whole big effort take time. And, the learning curve to become adept at this art of creation, takes time. Even to do things poorly takes time. To do them well, to execute them with a sense of care, to produce quality, takes time.
No matter your age, life takes time. Young or old, we are immersed in the on-goings of time.
It just goes on and on.
When we quit, when we die, it will continue on.
Whatever we're doing, where ever we're going, it will take time and when its done, when we get there, we'll just have more time.
Possibly one of the most profound and annoying sayings of the past is "Patience is its own reward."
If that annoys you, its because its accurate.
If things work out well and we become mature, emotionally intelligent individuals, we acquire patience as we age. Its worked for me and I was impeccably impatient as a young man. Everything needed to happen now!
But it didn't.
What did happen was that through the perfect friction of engaging the work to be done - the intellectual, skillful, emotional work to make something happen, I became increasingly skilled at accomplishing things I had never been able to do before.
When they say patience is its own reward, this is what they mean.
- Our skills develop,
- Our emotions stabilize,
- Our attention homes in,
- Our insight sharpens,
- Our understanding deepens,
- Our ease becomes smooth, steady and reliable.
- We become calm and enduring.
We really do get better at whatever we choose to do if we mature patience. It just takes time.