Just last week we bought a water purifier. It’s one of those fancy double decker types that shows you just how awful your water looks before it filters through the five levels of purification. It has taken up lodging on the center of our now too small kitchen island.
The difference in the water after it’s purified is definitely noticeable. The water is cleaner, tastes “thinner” somehow and is probably much better for us. Oh, and did I mention the person waiting for that cleaner, thinner, better water is probably experiencing dehydration at rapid speed because the monstrosity purifies the water so slowly?
It’s true. Before, when we were drinking “regular” water, it came out of the faucet. Just a flip of the handle and water came forth. Unless of course there was something wrong with the pump or we were out of water or the water had frozen. If you lived in our neck of the woods, you’d understand how any of these things could happen at any time or in the dead of winter or at the end of every second Sunday just before water delivery day.
Now though, we take the water from the faucet (so long as one of the above catastrophes hasn’t happened) and pour it into the top deck of this water purifier. And then we wait. And wait. And wait. And we wait some more. It takes so long for water to filter through a ceramic something or other that the first evening we waited a few hours until there was enough purified water to make a pot of coffee.
It turns out there is nothing wrong with the water filter contraption. We checked. This is just what it takes to get really clean water. As we stood there that first evening, huddled around the island as if it was an altar and the water purifier our god, my husband made a very profound statement. About consistency of all things.
He talked about how we (as in a society) decide to start something –a project, a class, an exercise regime or what have you—and we expect immediate results. Then, when we don’t get those results at lightning speed, we give up instead of consistently repeating the steps it takes to get the results we want.
Take savings for example. When we think about our retirement funds it can be hard to believe that a small amount of our check every week or every two weeks will eventually end up as enough money to live on without working. So some folks don’t save for retirement. I know when I was in my early twenties it never occurred to me that I could be saving for my future like that. Yet we can…As long as we keep repeating the steps.
It got me to thinking about all the other things I’ve given up on too quickly because I didn’t see the results I wanted fast enough. I have a long history of quitting. Books that haven’t seen the light of day because I stopped after the writing phase and never went on to the editing phase or the publishing phase. The triathlon or marathon I’ve never participated in because I can’t see past the burn in my legs after a single workout.
What about you? Are there projects you haven’t finished? Or books that you haven’t published? A degree you haven’t earned yet because the daunting repetition of attending class and doing the homework doesn’t seem to get to the degree getting fast enough? Maybe you’ve dismissed the idea of saving for your future because a few dollars set aside every pay period doesn’t seem like it will ever add up.
If you’re anything like me, I encourage you to try being a water purifier instead. Don’t expect the results of something that takes time to come rushing out at you like Niagara Falls. The strength of that water is mighty, but it will bowl you over and leave you exhausted and soaked.
Be a water purifier and let the ideas or the concept or the project or the _______________ (insert your goal here) filter through the ceramic. Practice repetition, slow things down, and savor the moment. The results may come one drip at a time but in the end you’ll have the finished project or the degree or the sporting activity or the savings you can be proud of.