Why is it so easy to start but so difficult to finish?


It is so easy to start the task, you laugh filled with enthusiasm and great wisdom. You have planned everything to the last detail, nothing can go wrong. Ineptitude cannot even be considered.


So many great failures start with the joy of ripping off the film containing your new purchase.  Hopefully everything is in the box and the instructions are in English (following them is optional, another reason why jobs don’t get finished.)


It is even easier to consider yourself infallible if you spend a great deal of money on the equipment needed for this task. The higher the cost and quality of the equipment is no guarantee of success.


If the task needs to be performed in the open air then weather is a major consideration but usually only as an excuse not to start, this is a whole new problem.  I remember doing bob a job as a scout, how when cleaning and waxing Skip’s car, trying to do this in the blazing sun was a real no no. My dad told me that cars only need fixing when the weather is bad – how true.




img src="images/school.jpg" align=left hspace=12 v:shapes="_x0000_s1028">The start of a new school term is a case in point, your school uniform is cleaned and pristine (and will be hung up when you return from school) your pens perfect and your pencils sharpened; you will have a full set of geometrical devices (weapons of math’s instruction) and everything is ready for the start of another year. You promise your parents that you will always do your homework and not bunk off. You even believe this for at least a week but very soon the enormity of the task becomes apparent and lethargy wins again. I still have a coat hanger with the words school uniform written on it to bear testament to good intention.


Model kits


img src="images/model.jpg" align=left hspace=12 v:shapes="_x0000_s1029">I used to love making plastic models.  When I got to my twenties I was now able to afford all the bits and paraphernalia that I couldn’t as a kid.  So now armed with financial might, I would go into the model shop and buy kits that I knew I would like to make in the future on the promise that I need to buy them now just in case they are not available when I’m ready to do them.  I also bought all the paint that I needed as well.


The consequence of this was I ended up with a pile of unopened boxes, half finished tanks and enough paint for the Forth Bridge.  


Health and fitness


img src="images/health.jpg" align=left hspace=12 v:shapes="_x0000_s1030">How many times have you decided to get into shape so you can lay on the beach and not be totally embarrassed.  How much equipment have you got in your house (my wife has a friend who bought a cross trainer, her only use of it was to say “I dusted it last week”)  Have you always been embarrassed to start jogging because of the embarrassment of collapsing in a heap before you reach the end of the road?  Why is it that jogging with friends always ends up in the pub?   


Any new hobby


img src="images/hobby.jpg" align=left hspace=12 v:shapes="_x0000_s1031">Nearly everybody who gets a new hobby or rather thinks that would be fun, buys loads of equipment and worst still the man in the specialist shop will sell you anything (I’ve seen masters of this in camera shops, angling shops and boy racers are definitely victims).  You can always tell these people when they are out on the street weighed down with tons of equipment that they are not sure what it is and how to use it.


Evening classes


How many evening classes have you joined and never gone back to after week one.  These are much more preferable than gym memberships as they are a lot cheaper. 







Watching experts on television and saying it’s easy.


img src="images/tv.jpg" align=left hspace=12 v:shapes="_x0000_s1032">Experts on TV cause untold problems.  How many times do you watch chefs, anglers and even Jeremy Clarkson thinking I can do that, that looks so easy.  The casualty units are full now of people with lumps chopped off of their fingers through fast chopping, fish hooks up their noses and mental health problems following Jeremy Clarkson’s advice.  The programmes featuring these people always fail to mention that these experts really are experts and have spent years perfecting and actually having some talent except Jeremy Clarkson.


Carrying on, whilst chaos reigns


My first experience of this was at a young age in the cubs when the leader had a wonderful idea for a new game, they explained it, nobody understood it but we still carried on playing it.  It is wonderful how some people will think they know best when it is obvious that they don’t.  This also carries on in school and politicians are the finest advocates. 


Drawing pins/ceiling paper.


img src="images/ceiling.jpg" align=left hspace=12 v:shapes="_x0000_s1033">A friend of mine tells me of his earlier exploits in becoming a builder.  Papering ceilings is not for the faint hearted. He tells me that in the early days he used to have to have about five drawing pins stuck into the ceiling holding his paper up.  He then went on to say that as time went on he needed four then three and finally no drawing pins at all. 


I have paid a fortune for that


Finishing a task is not just about the physical completion but also the mental letting it go, how many times have you heard people say “I paid a fortune for that, I’m not throwing it away” (usually your dad).  People can’t seem to get it into their heads that life has moved on and their valuables just aren’t anymore.  I’ve got some very valuable football programmes and cigarette cards that I’m sure you want to buy. 




It still works

img src="images/stillworks.jpg" align=left hspace=12 v:shapes="_x0000_s1034">

This is just a follow on from the above.  Again mostly attributable to men.  “It still works, why do I want another one?”  “because dad Noah had one on the Ark and Mrs. Noah wanted a new one.” This also applies to clothing – how many of you have a favourite jumper or anything similar.  You will wear it until it drops off, the elbows are usually transparent but it is still alright.  I have a terrible wardrobe cleaning fairy in my house who threw away my favourite shirt. 


How many things have you got in your house that you have saved for best and never worn?  I also used to keep things thinking that will come back into fashion one day. 


Hotels/roof tax

img src="images/hotels.jpg" align=left hspace=12 v:shapes="_x0000_s1035">

Many buildings in certain Mediterranean countries are never finished because tax is payable when the building is completed, thus nothing ever gets finished.  It is still used but not finished. 


Is your house a case in point?


Paint, wallpaper, wool


A great danger is starting a task that has materials that can run out.  How many times has it happened to you that you started painting a door or skirting board and you run out of paint?  You will find that you cannot get img src="images/wool.jpg" align=right hspace=12 v:shapes="_x0000_s1036">the same paint again.  Or it won’t be the same shade.  Wallpaper will always be discontinued when you want another roll and knitting wool is never quite the same.  I bear testament to this with my wonderful slipover sweater which was completed at the bottom in a different shade of black.  I tried saying it was a fashion statement, but everyone took the piss just the same.


Another great thing was when I was going to buy a flat, you often were told by people “we haven’t finished tiling the kitchen but the last few tiles were still there for you to finish”.  It’s funny how the bit they hadn’t finished is always the really difficult bit. 

img src="images/unfinished.jpg" align=left hspace=12 v:shapes="_x0000_s1037">










I can’t be asked!


This is the usual reaction when you get to the point in the job when you realise that you should have read the instructions and you find that you’ve got to start over again.


And a further point is …