Success Doesn't Require Completion

Yesterday one of my friends shared a memory on Facebook and it was a link to a book I was writing last year. I never finished my book, Nefelibata and so when I saw the post my immediate response was: “It’s disappointing that it’s incomplete. I need to complete it.”

I have quite a poor history of completing creative projects. When I get inspiration, I drop everything and use all my energy to start the project. However, if it takes me more than a certain amount of time to execute it, I lose inspiration and stop. My mom always says, “When Jess gets an idea, she has to execute the whole project in an hour or else it will never get done.”

I’ve always been really ashamed of myself for not completing projects since I know it shows a lack of commitment and dedication. I felt ashamed when I saw the link to my incomplete book as I don’t want to be seen as somebody who can’t follow through with tasks and ideas. I don’t like to let others down.

However, after some consideration, I realised something. We don’t need to complete tasks in order to learn from them.

We often think that completed projects are the only things that are worthwhile and have a point. A finished book or film will get a point across more effectively than a half completed one. A plan to save water is obviously more effective when it’s executed. A person who consistently posts blogs or Youtube videos will be taken more seriously than somebody who does it once and never touches it again.

While this is all true, it doesn’t take away from the fact that you can learn something just from starting – or even thinking about a project. During the few months that I spent writing Nefelibata, I felt like I had a sense of purpose and it distracted me from how lonely I felt living by myself. I had also stopped writing for an extended period before that and so writing the book reminded me of my passion.

Yes, I didn’t finish the book. I may never finish it. I feel like it served its purpose though and that was to help me get through 1st semester.

Maybe you started a course or a new activity and then quit half way. Your first reaction may be, “What a waste of time. There was absolutely no point in me investing all of this time, money and energy into something if I’m not getting the degree/published book/ standing ovation at the end.” Before you get all guilty and disappointed though, take your eyes away from the envisaged outcome for a moment and look at what you have gained just from starting. Nothing you do is ever a waste of time because every situation that you attract into your life is there for a reason. Once it has taught you its lesson and fulfilled its purpose, it’s allowed to leave - even though it may not look complete.

While I do still think, it is beneficial to finish projects, I don’t think we need to be so hard on ourselves when we don’t. As long as we’re learning about ourselves and growing, we’re doing okay.