2 min read

#21: Half-life of Habits

#21: Half-life of Habits

There's an old story about a middle-aged farmer. The waves were crashing against the rocks as he was by the sea. The erosion was sculpting the coastline. He wondered how water, something that forms to its environment, could shape hard, immovable rock.

He realised it could do so because each wave harnessed enormous power and the change occurring was actually on each grain, not the entire rock.

He resolved to learn to read. He learnt each letter as if it were a grain of sand. He didn't focus on the enormous rock.

By the end of his life, he became one of the foremost scholars of his generation.

I have realised in the simple act of writing fifty-five little 250~ word stories that I have actually written over 13,000 words. The first week, I was spending upwards of an hour writing them. Now, they take around fifteen minutes.

There is no end goal for these stories other than to see how I can improve as a writer. I have proven to myself that there is no such thing as writer's block. There is only intent.

I want to be a better writer. That is the goal. The sea doesn't intend to sculpt the coast. Forces force it to crash against the rocks. I am forced to write by some deep desire to craft beautiful sentences.

There was a time when the above farmer ceased to learn the alphabet. The habit had run its course, and he needed to replace it with more complex learning. Reading single syllable words was the next challenge until that no longer served his purpose.

Most things in life have a 'use by' date. The key is to recognise the half-life before it no longer serves its purpose or provides happiness to you.

What I'm trying to say, I guess, is that knowing nothing is permanent, I am excited to see a time when forcing myself to come up with a short creative piece no longer serves my purpose.

Knowing habits have a half-life is liberating, as it allows experimentation and customisation.

Until next week,

io