Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Man vs. Chips

     When I worked in the grocery store I occasionally had to take a night shift, 11PM to 7AM. And when the customers tapered off, it was shelf stocking time. On one particular evening, the night manager rolled out a pallet stacked with cardboard boxes containing potato chips. The boxes reached towards the ceiling towering over me and I was immediately intimidated by the visual. "How am I ever going to get through all that?" I thought. The task at hand seemed impossible to finish. There were way too many boxes, that stack was unbelievably high, and the potato chips seemed unconquerable as they silently taunted me: "You'll never finish, you'll be here all night, look how tall and mighty we bags are in our impenetrable boxes. Just keep gawking because that's all you can do in our presence." The night manager must have noticed my expression at the sight of the chips because he pulled a box down, emptied the contents on to the shelf in about 2.5 seconds and said, "They break down pretty fast," and walked away leaving me to finish the job. I was done with the pallet in about 15 minutes.
     Certain tasks in life are like that pallet of potato chips. They seem impossible to complete. They're intimidating. They look way harder to conquer than they really are. And we stand there gawking at them, allowing them to make us feel inferior and useless. Yet, here's what I learned from the potato chips:

  • It's always helpful to have someone who knows what they're doing get you started. All I needed was the night manager to show me how to do one box and I was on my way. That whole men don't stop to ask for directions thing because they're men... that's garbage. If you need some help, ask for it. 
  • Take your task one box at a time. You only have to start with one box out of the stack.  The important thing is you start it, then chip away at it. 
  • Your "Rome" does not need to be built in one day. I wasn't going anywhere that evening. I was on the night shift. There was plenty of time to finish the task at hand. Completing tasks takes time, some more than others, but you'll get the job done quicker if you just start rather than wasting time thinking how long it's going to take you to finish. 
  • Potato chips aren't the enemy. Insecurities, self-doubt, past failures and fear of risk-taking are the enemy. These foes live inside of us, but only if we feed and nurture them by dwelling on them. Forget the past and focus on the task at hand. 
     I'm facing another pallet of potato chips at this juncture in my life. And maybe you are, too. Let's start just one box at a time. I'm sure we'll discover they break down pretty fast. 


Pam said...

Very nice Shane! Much needed advice, keep up the good work,

3B said...

Potato chips provide important nutrients,but the fat and salt they contain will outweigh the benefits if you eat too many.very interesting blog you shared here..I admire for your great writing..keep continue sharing Chips Market