Haunted by bathroom graffiti

Yesterday tested my persistence to new heights.

I’d concluded that it would be impossible to proceed with Counting Zeros if I wasn’t tracking what I spend every day, but that my current system for doing so was flawed.

It required too much willpower which is a limited resource that I need for more challenging self-promises than the simple exercise of writing down what I spend as I spend it and then transferring that information into an excel spreadsheet. Because this is the system I’d adopted a couple of years ago and it had worked, I hadn’t hunted for something less cumbersome and more efficient. And because of that I only sometimes managed to pull the whole thing off, the rest of the time I was trying to remember what I’d spent and making a mess of my spreadsheet.

Back in January I mentioned that I solved the problem of never being able to remember all my passwords by installing a password app on my blackberry. This simple step has decreased the amount of frustrating disorganisation and ensuring anxiety in my life by a measurable amount. I’d estimate roughly 8.67% per week. And so yesterday it occurred to me there might be a handy spend tracker app available. And there is!!

With that I went ahead to announce to the world that I was leaving my old system behind.

I went on to have a day filled with the bitter frustration.

At each step of the way along what should have been a simple transaction I met red tape and catch 22’s. I’d somehow entered the Ministry of Technological Misery.

I won’t traumatise myself or bore you with a step by step account.  What I will say that it demanded over fourteen hours of commitment (not solid hours, but in duration) and fifteen different attempts to work around the system until PRESTO, my last attempt magically worked.

I am now the proud owner of a much simpler tracking system.

For those that want to follow in my footsteps do not be discouraged, it’s unlikely you misunderstand technology as much as I do. My pet theory on what went wrong is that the app I’d chosen took up too much memory for my particular model of berry but that something evil inside machine made it appear to be a password identification issue. In the end I’ve got iSpend up and running (not so flash as Spend Tracker Pro) and I am IN LOVE.

I know what you’re thinking — that this is just the honeymoon period. Maybe that’s so, but for now it even has a feature just perfect for my current assignment — I tell it my exact budget and every time I enter a line item (cup of coffee, groceries, a book from Amazon), it tells me what damage that’s done. The numbers appear in green when I’m still on track and switch to red if I break my budget. This is A LOT EASIER than what my old pen, paper and excel system offered me.

And so yesterday was a lesson in perseverence … or persistence (what’s the difference? click here for an interesting explanation based on the behaviours of Forrest Gump) … which reminded me of the time that I read something I found really inspiring on the back of a bathroom door.

Unfortunately I read it before the internet was available for the general public and so I could never track down the original quote. Until yesterday. While waiting for the right application to download, I looked up quotes on perseverance and found my long-lost piece of bathroom graffiti. It wasn’t said by Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, but by good old Calvin Coolidge, the 30th.

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

For those of you with time to browse around online today, hunting down this quote lead me to a wacky website called the periodic table of the human condition — go check it out here.

Now! Onto this week’s assignment. I’ve pulled an Ace. The Ace of Diamonds. Which means I can do whatever assignment I want this week, including no assignment at all. I’ll report back next week with what I decided to do.

4 thoughts on “Haunted by bathroom graffiti

  1. Love the quote. I think persistence isn’t as important as luck, but it increases the chance if good luck and is far more important than talent and education, though both are highly significant things in their own right.

    I will be spreading this quote around for sure!

    1. The 2nd time around it struck me less powerfully than the 1st time I bumped into it — but I reckon that’s because I’ve been over sloganeered since then and meet too many good quotes. But I do think as some point in your life someone does need to remind you / explain that perseverance counts for so much.

      There’s this psychologist who investigated Luck and found that lucky people do all sorts of things differently than unlucky people — like for example they simply tend to know 3x as many people so they bump into much more opportunity.

      I once read something that went something along the lines: there are 3 reasons to take action 1. it clarifies thinking 2. it shines confidence 3. it invites serendipity. Haven’t been able to trace source of that either — but your comments on Luck reminded me of it!!!!

  2. Hi Nat- so, I am going to be channeling your passion very soon…I have just quit my job for many reasons that I wont get into here, but it is a GOOD THING!!! Mainly, because it allows me to take a job this summer teaching at Arizona State University, which is so exciting it makes my socks roll up and down…BUT, it also means that I am now in need of another job that allows for me to be out of work for 6 weeks, twice a week. No easy task. At least, not easy for me, someone who thrives on the expected (as in the paycheck), the stable (as in the work week), the comfortable (as in my way of life). I will be more aware of my cash flow than I have been since my college days, and it is scary, like horror-movie scary. But, apparantly not scary enough to stay in a job that was robbing me of my sanity and integrity, so that’s something. I was reminded that we all need to take a few leaps in life…what I DO know is that when I left my boss’s officeafter dropping off my letter of resignation, I felt a load of bricks fall off my shoulders that I didnt know I had been carrying around, so I know that it was the right thing to do, at least.

    I worry that I will need to take a vow of poverty…or worse, i will become a spending anorexic…a place i have visited a few times. and from someone who also has been in “a spending blackout” in Target more than once, (“who put those mixing bowls in my cart?”) I worry what will happen when I dont have a steady income? In the meantime, I will try not panic and re-read your blog entries for inspiration.

  3. This is EXCELLENT. You are officially a Counting Zeros champion!

    I am so happy for you!!!! Something that makes your socks roll up and down on the work-passion front is a MUST. And that this decision forced you to leave a place sapping you — well, even better!

    I assume you meant you need a job that will allow you to be free for 6 wks twice a year? Am thinking additional teaching gigs, some freelance, private practice. I don’t know but I KNOW there’s such a job out there that would ideal for you. Would it be too wacky to create a spending plan rather than a budget … where you come up with a reasonable amount of money for you to spend and still have a life — a plan that’s not too too oppressive. And then revisit it in several months time — at an agreed future date by which stage certain currently unknowns might a lot clearer?

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