Grasshopper Mind


MARCH 29, 2022

It’s happened to me.  It’s happened to you.  Days when our must-do list runneth over. Places to go. Things to do. Deadlines to meet.  We stew in a morass of indecision.  Everything is, or seems to be, important. Where to start?


This is where I was recently. Then I remembered Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird, printed 25 years ago.  She gave it this title because some years earlier her then 10-year-old brother was trying to write a report on birds. Like all reports from procrastinators, it was due the next day.  He was overwhelmed and immobilized by the hugeness of the task.  Then his grandfather sat down beside him. He put his arm around his shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.”


Visualizing a grandfather with his arm around his grandson, and hearing the words ‘bird by bird,’ is calming.  It helps get your birds and must-dos in a row. Helps prioritize.  Probably shrinks the list of things you thought important or the birds worth writing about.  It works.


Following the bird-by-bird method not only whittled down my list. When scrutinized more calmly, it was obvious six of the ten items could be handled by someone else.  Six down, only four to go.


I recommend the Bird-by-Bird method – and highly recommend the book.




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