The simplicity of instructions.

A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, no matter how fertile, without cultivation.

Cicero

Hello, My Friends

This week I’ve been investigating the style of clothing I want to be wearing. How I want to look and feel as I go about my daily work. I have chosen a simple fitted dress as my work ‘uniform’. I have a pattern, but I haven’t made it before. I’m unsure of the fit of it on my body shape, so I decide to sew a mock dress from an old sheet I happen to have handy.

The cat and I have fun smoothing out the paper pattern over the folded fabric. His job is to put as many holes in the paper as possible, mine is to protect the paper from tearing and being shredded.

Once the fabric is cut out, I mark the darts, and notches that give a clue to how the dress goes together. I have the pattern, I know how I want the dress to look, and I have some idea on how to put the pieces together, even though this pattern doesn’t have any instructions I’m confident I can put the dress together easily.

It’s been years since I have created using the sewing machine. This dress has five pieces, a front, two back pieces and two bodice lining pieces. Easy as, I think.

Going from memory I ran a seam up the back of the dress. Damn, the very first seam was wrong, I unpicked it. Sewed the darts, front and back. Sewed the side seams to the front, sewed the shoulder seams together. Now I was making it happen, sewed the shoulders of the bodice lining. Discovered one piece was around the wrong way, more unpicking and correcting. I sewed the bodice lining to the dress neckline, then each arm hole. But I couldn’t turn the garment in the right way. This had me baffled.

More unpicking, the arms were wrong, but how. Initially I couldn’t figure it out, and when I did it meant I had to undo the side seams, resew the bodice to the arms and pull the back pieces through the shoulder seams. In total three seams didn’t need to be unpicked and resewn. Five pieces of fabric with no instructions caused so much extra work and frustration.

Even with a general knowledge of how to put clothes together and past experience of making clothes for myself and my children, without direct instruction my general knowledge was sufficient to put the dress together, after many false starts and much reworking, imagine how quickly and efficiently the dress would have gone together with instructions.

Life is like that we often think we know enough to muddle through. And we do, we take wrong turns, correct our paths, sometimes over correcting and then needing to correct again. This way we zig zag through our days, our years and eventually our lives. Never quite getting ahead as quickly or as far as we want.

If we had a guide, a mentor, or a coach, we could bypass much heartache and frustration.

Like my dress- If I’d had the instructions, it would have been completed, quicker, more efficiently and without wastage and frustration.

Often we believe we have what it takes to make it on our own. We may have instructions which we skim over presuming we know and understand what needs to happen, and the order it needs to be done. To find we misunderstood the instructions. We jumped to incorrect conclusions.

To follow the guidance that those before us have left for us to map the way is wisdom.

But far to often we pick and choose the pieces of information we think will help us the most and leaving the rest, not realizing that each builds one on top of the other, each fits together like at stair case.

As with my dress, I knew the side seams needed sewing up, I just sewed them at the wrong time, which put the entire dress in jeopardy of being uncompleted.

How often do you pick the pieces of information you think you want, not following the prescribed directions, from those who have done what you are trying to do?

Most self-development books have step by step processes, that if followed diligently will produce results or head you in the direction of your next clue or step. We read these books, and articles, blogs and listen to podcasts for the information we can gather rather than looking for the road map that can guide us

I want to challenge you to have a look at the books on your bookshelves. What are the books, the life maps of those who have gone before, got to teach you?

What instructions do you have at hand that have been glossed over? That maybe when you first read them you didn’t have the maturity or skill to understand and now you do. Have another look, and step by step put the processes into practice, use the guide map of those who have been where you are going, who have fallen into the traps, made the wrong turns and felt the frustration of lost time, revenue and discouragement. Step on the shoulders of their successes, and keep at it until you get the results you want.

Follow the instructions, take the easy road, grow faster, and learn more.

Until next time, rediscover the treasures in your bookshelf.

xoxox Linda

As a certified Life Coach, I help you to help yourself, so you can create a well lived life your way. 

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