Empty the Dishwasher Before You Do the Dishes

By Jimmy Warden

There have been several times in the past couple of weeks when I’ve had the urge to do the dishes. However, a full dishwasher was enough interference to keep me from doing the dishes that were sitting in the sink. My drive and motivation to do the dishes vanished as soon as I saw how many dishes were in the dishwasher and had to get put away. That got me thinking. There are often a lot of instances in our lives when there is something that we want to do, but we allow something else that we need to do beforehand to get in our way. That is why we must empty the dishwasher before we do the dishes.

Now, this phrase is something that I thought of in the context of dishes, but can be applied to various contexts in our lives. Maybe we want to go back to school to get a degree, maybe we want a new job, maybe we want to get in better shape. Whatever it is we want, there is often something (or multiple things) we must do that prelude our fantasy.

For example, let’s say we want to go back to school to study exercise science to become a personal trainer. In order for us to be able to attend the college or university where we want to obtain the degree, we must put in an application first. For those that have had the opportunity to go to college, putting in an application is a process. The application process often requires answering questions about why you want to attend the university, it requires to submit transcripts which must be gathered from previous universities and high school, it requires submitting a fee for the application itself, and it requires time to do all of these things. By having this laundry list of boxes to check before pursuing that dream, the dream itself could evaporate due to a lack of drive and motivation to check the boxes that need to be checked to complete the application process.

Drive and motivation are as fleeting as thoughts. Drive and motivation are also very context dependent. The things that we want, desire, and love often deliver us a lot of drive and motivation. The things that we don’t want, don’t desire, or don’t love quickly minimize and even eliminate motivation altogether. That’s part of the reason why we hear stories of famous athletes rising from nothing to becoming the face of their sport. A lot of athletes have tremendous drive and motivation because of the combination of pursuing a sport they love and trying to provide resources for the people they love. Not only that, but when athletes are not living up to expectations, their drive and motivation can go one of two ways. One, they could use it as fuel to keep pushing forward, or two; they could agree with the fact they’re not living up to expectations and start to lose their drive and motivation to overcome the interference.

The same could also be said for a lot of people on this planet. Our passions are often our biggest allies in creating high levels of drive and motivation. However, within our passions, there are still challenges that will pop up unbeknownst to us and we’ll have choices about how to deal with it. Do we beat the challenge or do we allow the challenge to beat us? Whatever decision we make will have an impact on how we deal with our future challenges, too. To quote the great Michael Jordan, “If you quit once, it becomes a habit. Don’t quit”.

The great parts about not quitting are the fact that we’ll see ourselves through the challenges that used to fold us. We’ll be able to overcome challenges we used to think we couldn’t overcome. We’ll be able to do what it is we’ve wanted to do because we’ll have checked the boxes along the way. And the greatest of all, the dishwasher will be empty, and we’ll be able to do the dishes.


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