Building a Cabin in the Woods: A metaphor for life.
Right now I am finding out that the most important thing we do in life is one thing…
…and that is what we repeatedly do.
It doesn’t have to be inspired, have any higher purpose or make money. You don’t have to be very good at it or pass any test to do it.
Consistency doing the same thing every day is what determines our life in every single way.
It takes no effort to achieve this because we are already doing it. We already are doing the same thing every day and we keep getting better and better at it, becoming very comfortable with it and people know us for it. It is who we are.
The question is: “What is doing that same thing every day getting us?”
Doing the same things every day is probably getting us what we have already and when you take a good look at yourself and your situation you already know the answer to those questions.
Are you satisfied and happy with that?
Yes? Great, keep doing what you are doing and relax. You’ve won the game of life! No reason to look any further.
No? Then it is necessary to take a look at where you are, define what you want, and adjust what you do to make it possible for it to happen.
That is where building a cabin in the woods comes in.
Building a Cabin in the Woods
I use the imagery of the “cabin in the woods” arbitrarily as an example of the importance of the concept of consistency. Consistency of vision, consistency of planning and consistency of action.
When someone plans to build a real cabin in the woods, first they see a picture in their mind about how it looks on the whole. They see the place where it will be built, they envision the size, shape and characteristics of the it. People mentally evaluate in their mind what they want the inside to be like and also envision the good times that will experienced in this new environment.
All of this mental work happens way before pencil has been put to paper or ruler to the drafting table. First it is always a mental picture.
The process has already started. The “doing the same thing everyday to build a cabin in the woods has already begun.” You are already building the cabin.
From then on you start finding ways to make it possible like evaluating the money it will involve and to make sure you have enough, finding the wood to build it with, having the proper tools to do it, drawing a good plan for it’s construction and then you ultimately starting digging for the foundation, placing the concrete footer and then proceeding to put log on top of log until the entire cabin is finished and you can start the process of living in it.
In order for that cabin to get built it is going to take consistent effort every day until it is finished.
My The Death of My Uncle’s Dream
I had an Uncle John who was an unmarried farmer sharing his childhood home with two of his sisters. Uncle John did all the farming, one sister was a school teacher, another great story to tell and the other, well lived off of her portion of the farm and basically did the cooking, egg collecting and housework for their home.
Since my uncle and aunts had no family of their own they simply relied on the extended family for their family thinking. Because it was the home of the Patriarch Robert E, the extended family saw it as also their “grandfather’s and grandmother’s” house to go to for holidays and the such. Going home for Christmas was going home to “The Wynn Place”
So, my uncle had purchased some land on a prominent hill close to the farm that had magnificent views of the valley they lived in. He wanted to create a family park on the top of that hill for family members to enjoy as a get away and also a place for him to get away from his sisters from time to time I think.
Here is what he actually got built and it is no small feat.
First he paved the road up to the place where he planned to build the cabin. Between the slopes of the cabin site he dammed up one end of the valley and built a small lake and stocked it with fish.
Then he started to build the cabin, with a main floor with a balcony and a half basement below that opened up to the slope going down towards the pond.
The fireplace had been built, the roof put on and the windows and doors done and then…
… all of the sudden he stopped building it. His act of doing the same thing every day, outside of farming all day long with the old style farm of crop farming, making hay for cattle, feed for the chickens and pigs and so on, all came to an abrupt stop.
10 years earlier he had had a major heart attack, I think he was 56 years old, and following that heart attack his doctor told him he had 10 years to live. So on the 10th Anniversary of his heart attack he stopped working. He was now 66 years old, retiring age for sure, and just stopped working and let one of his nephews farm the place.
Now, after all the effort Uncle John had put into that beautiful “resort” on top of the hill, you’d think that all of his family would pick up the hammer and nail and see it to it’s finish. But NOBODY did. Can you believe that? It was a gift to them and nobody helped him complete a project that was already 80% complete. All they had to do was finish the house on the inside!
So, the place just rotted away. We actually did camp out there with our cousins and had a really great time on those beautiful acres, but that was it.
Later on, some of his nephews bought it from Uncle John and raised some cattle up there for a time and had horses for fun and what not, but nobody shared Uncle John’s vision enough to complete it.
By the way he lived into his eighties,14 plus more years.
Now, the hill top has two water towers on it, and there is a subdivision with a house built on the exact spot where that cabin was. It makes me ill every time we visit it. How disappointing. The entire kinfolk had an entire park with a beautiful cabin/lodge to use for free and they didn’t think enough of it to complete it.
What you do everyday gets things done.
Uncle John wanted to leave a legacy and sometimes I wonder how sad it must have made him when nobody picked up the hammer to help him finish it. I wished I had, but we lived 130 miles away and I was but a kid at the time.
That is the way life is.
Life will get in the way of your dreams if you wait to do what you want. The cabin in the woods is a metaphor, and a strong metaphor it is. To get anything you want you are going to have to work towards it constantly everyday doing what it takes to build the vision you have planted in your mind.
Don’t let your dreams die.