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Apprenticeship Pattern “The Long Road”

I once watched a video by a self-proclaimed “lifehack guru,” where he talked about what he claimed to be a revolutionary new way to “think stuff done.” I always take ideas like this with a grain of salt, but in this particular video, I thought there was something to the advice he gave.

He said to look at your cluttered desk (or area of your choice) and to imagine it clean. The important part is this: you pause and take some satisfied breaths about how good it feels to have a clean desk. Note you have not done anything yet, but you feel the satisfaction of what it will feel like when you are done. Already, you should find that you have, without meaning to, probably thought of a few steps to achieving it.

That’s a long way of getting around to introduce the pattern, “The Long Road,” but the action that it suggests feels very similar. It suggests to imagine your future ten years from now and further, even the most far fetched version, and use that thought experiment to help plan your future career choices.

The “guru’s” advice was surprisingly helpful for doing something as trivial as cleaning my desk. I keep that advice when I do a lot of tasks now, even years after I have last watched it. However, so far I have only used it for short term and slightly longer term tasks that I need to do. I have not thought about applying it to something as significant as career goals, as the pattern suggests.

The pattern talks about keeping your sights set on the long term. This is something that I have been neglecting. I keep my head down and work hard on what is in front of me, but I don’t often step back to see the big picture. This affects me because when the pressures of school or elsewhere aren’t there, I sometimes don’t know what to do with myself. Without something assigned and a deadline, I can sometimes waste my time because I haven’t set myself goals.

It can be hard to set goals without the long term plan of where you want to take it. Otherwise it seems meaningless. What I liked about the guru’s advice was the pause to meditate on the moment where you accomplished your goals and hold that image. Although that is not mentioned in the pattern, I will use that step as I map out my future.

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