Zeno Paradox and Boat Projects

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Zeno's Paradox of the Dichotomy proposes a situation where you are going to travel from A to B.

Each step you take will be halfway between where you are and B. The first step will take you half the distance, which is the midpoint.

Your next step will take you half of the remaining distance.

The next step after that will be half of the remaining distance again.

The next step after that will be half of the remaining distance again.

The next step after that will be half of the remaining distance again!

As you approach B, there is still a remaining distance left to cover and each step will again only advance you half the remaining distance. The process of taking steps that only cover half the remaining distance will continue on forever, as there will always be a next step and you will never reach B.

What started out as a quick trip from A to B has become an unending ordeal where progress has slowed and you will never reach the end! 

Boat projects are the same way. What starts out as a quick and easy project becomes more and more complicated as there is always one more thing that can be done to make it more perfect.

When I was building the sculling oar, I could have faired the junction of the laminated handle a bit more. I could have sanded it a bit more. I could have put plugs in the screw holes. I could have polished the wood to really bring the grain out. I could have done engravings on the handle. I could have done mother of pearl inlays on the blades. There is always another thing that could be done to make them more perfect, but instead I went sailing.

The purpose of all this work is to grant you the ability to go out on the water and enjoy the wind in your face as you cut through the seas! Boat projects are to enable you to take your yacht out sailing, not to work infinite hours on minute details that keep you from sailing.

Next time you find yourself sweating about minuscule details, step back and look at the big picture. Remember what the goal is and know when to stop the project before you begin to obsess about the unimportant details that are keeping you from enjoying your boat.

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