Grandpaw’s Lessons: “It don’t take long to shower when the water’s cold”

The point: there are times you can be a craftsman and times you simply must get things done — do you know the difference?

This witticism was one that the old man said to my Dad and it gave me a good laugh. First, a little background about Grandpaw’s way of communicating. He didn’t usually have a whole lot to say and when he did, most people were frustrated because they believed he talked in riddles. He did. He always talked in riddles and short whimsical statements that usually had a point though it was lost on most.

One morning Dad was at Grandpaw’s fussing that his broken hot water heater which made for a  freezing cold shower (and it sure wasn’t summer time either!). Ol’ Gramps, never missing an opportunity to make a *smart* comment said:

“it don’t take long to shower when the water’s cold.”

Really Grandpaw? No kidding!

There was a point, however. One that we did not yet fully appreciate it. Think about it.

Have you figured out the point or how it applies to the things we do?

Priorities.

This was Grandpaw’s way of saying there is a difference between what you have to do and what you want to do. That is, how long does it really take for you to take a shower? Five minutes? Ten? Do you want to really find out? Use only freezing cold water and you will see – less than a minute, I can promise you!

Often times what we do in our daily lives is much like a shower. Normally we may be able to take our time and really enjoy what we are doing, or maybe even be a craftsman. At other times, however, there is less priority placed on the quality of what you are doing or your enjoyment in doing it, and more placed on the value of just getting it done in the quickest way possible. The key is understanding the difference between what what you may want to do and what you absolutely have to do. There is a difference.

You have probably figured out by now that I value craftsmanship in my work. But — there are times when doing something like a craftsman would be wrong under the circumstances, such as when a certain strategy or deadline places a higher value on completing a project than on completing it perfectly, though later. The key lies in knowing when to use each approach.  

There may be times when you’ve had a stressful day and there is nothing you want more than enjoy a nice long hot shower. On those days, enjoy it.

There will be other days, however, when necessity demands that something be done as quickly as possible. When it does, focus only on what you absolutely have to do and remember Grandpaw’s saying: “it don’t take long to shower when the water’s cold.”

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