Start Fixing Real Life Problems with This Dirty Dishes Challenge

Next time you do the dishes, clean the house, or do the laundry (insert your worst nightmare here), we have a challenge for you. Do that frustrating thing in the best way you possibly can. If you’re working on the dishes, turn on some music, focus in, and make sure every single dish is as clean as can be. Skip the dishwasher for this round. Try and enjoy this process. This will help you with fixing real life problems, because… Guess what?

 

There are always going to be dirty dishes.

That pile will be right there again tomorrow, with no sign of your previous efforts. How maddening is that? There will always be laundry and trash. There will always be pain, hunger, financial issues, fights with family and friends, or what have you.

So, do you just give up? It sure is an option. You can contemplate the meaninglessness of your existence, and that gives you a pretty good excuse not to do the dishes. But that comes with consequences, doesn’t it? When you don’t work on solving your problems, your problems spread like weeds. Gardens will always have weeds. It’s just your job to deal with them, so you can enjoy your garden.

If you want any chance at having a happy and healthy life, you can’t try and make the dishes go away forever. That’s quite silly. The only sane thing to do is figure out how to enjoy doing the dishes. And that is very different from seeking the accomplishment you get from finishing the dishes.

 

There is an old story called The Myth of Sisyphus.

He was a man banished to hell, and his punishment was to roll a giant boulder up a hill. As soon as he got close to the top, the boulder would roll all the way back down to the bottom, no matter how hard he pushed. His only option was to try again, even knowing the eventual fate of his struggle against the boulder.

Unfortunately for the devil, Sisyphus found happiness. He spend eternity trying to solve an unsolvable problem, and loved it. Maybe he went crazy, and maybe being crazy is actually being sane. Maybe we all have to be a little crazy, if we want any chance of enjoying this life.

So, go do the dishes. Then, go do the next thing. Deal with your financial debt, start the most uncomfortable conversation in the world, or dig into the worst part of whatever your career makes you do. Have a laugh at the ridiculousness of your situation.

Maybe next year, you’ll have a million dollars, the partner of your dreams, and complete inner peace. You’ll still have some version of “dishes” to take care of. Just breathe and get to it.

THE BASE CAMP JOURNAL MAKES FAILURE IMPOSSIBLE:

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15 Comments

  1. Fredster

    The wife is looking at me like I’m crazy! “You do know you’re washing dishes, right?!”

    Reply
  2. Di Farias

    One of my favorite sayings: “While doing dishes, simply do dishes.” Very zen.

    Reply
  3. Eric One

    Yes! Siddhartha FTW!

    Reply
  4. Julian Striegl

    I like to listen to a good podcast while doing the dishes. I actually look forward to it.

    Reply
    • Russell Dempsey

      I feel exactly the same way! I have always been horrible with dishes but I have been keeping up really well lately by listening to podcasts while doing them.

      Reply
  5. Russell Dempsey

    My favorite part was “When you don’t work on solving your problems, your problems spread like weeds. Gardens will always have weeds. It’s just your job to deal with them, so you can enjoy your garden.” That is exactly it. You will always have dishes, and other problems. If you hope fruitlessly for them to magically go away, which is impossible, then your happiness will be as fruitless and impossible. But, if you can learn to “embrace the suck” and really find pleasure in doing a good job, not only will you get better at it, enjoy it more, and end up doing it more often, you will be much happier in this and many other things in your life. Don’t constantly aim for the impossible, unless you can find happiness going insane and are okay with that, instead, find a way to solve the problem in an enjoyable way.

    Reply
  6. Sophie Kincaid

    Three students arrive at their master’s place on bicycles. The master asks them why they rode bicycles.

    I ride my bicycle because it is efficient says one. Wonderful! replies the master, your path will be smooth and easy.

    I ride my bicycle because it is good for my health says the second. Wonderful! replies the master, you will live a long and healthy life.

    I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle says the third.

    I am your student! declares the master.

    And the first student then went on to follow a smooth and easy path. The second student went on to live a long and healthy life. The third student went on to have an old man follow him around asking him questions every five minutes.

    Reply
  7. Patrick McWilliams

    Dishes, for me, means another chapter of Stephen King’s The Stand audiobook 😀

    Reply
    • JORDAN ARBUCKLE

      Hey, that’s perfect. I do podcasts/audiobooks in the gym to keep my mind preoccupied. Just read King’s Gunslinger, first of the Dark Tower series too!

      Reply
  8. Nic Vermillion

    Laundry done. Bathroom and kitchen cleaned. One roommate looking at me like I’m crazy but not complaining because now they don’t have to clean. And on chapter four of Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.

    Reply

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