Monday, January 22, 2007

Doing the Dufresne

I'm going to ruin The Shawshank Redemption, for you. Continue reading, at your own risk.

In the movie, the main character, Andy Dufresne (pronounced "Doo FRANE"), was convicted of a crime he did not commit. If memory serves, he spent about 20 hard* years of his life in Shawshank Penitentiary for this crime.

One day, the prison guards and officials discovered that Andy's cell was empty. Oh, the furniture, chess pieces, and posters were still up, but Mr. Dufresne was nowhere to be found, despite having been present and accounted-for at "lights-out."

To those that witnessed this confounding event, it seemed to be a work of magic.

The truth, though, was that Andy spent twenty years picking at the wall of his cell, using a device the size of your hand, making a tunnel just large enough for his escape.

There's a lesson in there, somewhere, but it's one that can be hard to internalize - for me, anyway. I've heard it related like this in other stories, but it's the same message, either way:

"Slow and steady wins the race."

In other words, small efforts over a large period of time can reap big rewards, despite how impossible the task may seem at the start.

It's determination and discipline, not magic, that makes the impossible possible.

Andy Dufresne knew that. From her recent posts about finances, chele knows that.

In fact, I think a lot of people KNOW this, but there's a big difference between the knowing and the doing.

When it comes to concerns, both fiscal and physical (health, retirement, etc.), working smart can be just as important as working hard - maybe moreso. Yet many of us seem to lack whatever it takes to apply this lesson over time.

Like I said, there's the knowing and then there's the doing.

Maybe, when it comes to life and love, health and happiness, relationships with family and friends, and so much more,... we all could spend more of this new year Doing the Dufresne.

* - Trust me. "Hard" is an understatement.


chele said...

I liked this.

I think the key for most of us is to just stay on the path and before you know it ... you're there.

We may be tripping ourselves up because we stay focused on what we don't have ... you know, whining about not having that house or that car or that whatever.

West said...

I know I can be bad about choosing the big effort, over a small period of time over the small effort over a long period of time.

While this can be advantageous in some circumstances (no finance charges, etc.), it sometimes works against me.

You're right about focus. I'm working on it.

Whenever I think about this, Shawshank comes to-mind, so I thought I'd start from there.

Thanks for leading by example (whether you meant to or not).

B. Good said...

I know this very well. Its the need for "instant gratification". I got it BAD, and its a tough thing to shake.

I'm slowly training my mind to think "in the long run", but its a catch-22, cuz as I said, I like things to happen instantly......meaning I want to change my mind instantly as well.

Great post. I'm certainly trying to do things the Andy Dufresne way.