Stephen Guise on the trials and tribulations of sock donning:
This is a true story. Today, I attempted to put on socks. As I sat on the bed, I brought the opening of the first sock to the toes on my right foot, and dropped the sock. I sat on the edge of the bed and cried for two hours.
Okay, it was true until the crying part. I didn’t cry, or would never admit it. YOU CAN’T PROVE ANYTHING.
Why is it that it’s so easy to pick up a dropped sock and not as easy to apply for another job, to go on another date, to live another day with health problems, and so on?
This question seems facetious at first. Of course we persist ini putting our socks on. It’s a small, trivial task that we do every day. Putting on our socks isn’t in the same league as going on a date or facing a job interview.
But it’s easy to forget that putting our socks wasn’t always an easy task. When you were one-year-old, you might well have reacted in the same way that Stephen (allegedly) reacted in his story. The reason putting on your socks is an afterthought today, even you occasionally fail on your first attempt is that you persisted until it became ease to do.
This persistence, like so much of the effort we’ve put into our lives, is lost in the dim and distant past of our childhood. So it feels like it doesn’t count. It feels dumb to compare the efforts we’re asked to make now with those we made then. But the process is exactly the same. Try, fail, try again, improve. That’s the game until we die.
It’s tempting to look at those around us and wonder at how they make success look so easy. To try to replicate their success, fail to achieve it straight away, and conclude that there’s something wrong with us.
But that would make no more sense than a one-year-old feeling like a failure as they watched us effortlessly put on our socks. All we’re missing is persistence.