Published: Dec. 15, 2023

“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn't matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.”

― Paulo Coelo

The cyclicality of process and its perpetual reification of the start-iterate-finish paradigm grinds at the two-pronged directive of modern, capitalist living—work hard, get rewarded. However, we know the cycle as we envision it—a pristine linearized radius that mythicizes the inevitability of progress feeding progress—versus the cycle as we experience it, something more akin to this:

                                                                                       Abstraktes Bild, Gerhard Richter

Or this...

                                                                                      Primordial Chaos, Hilma af Klimt

Or even this...

                                                                                      Saturno devorando a su hijo, Francisco de Goya

Given the cultural disconnect between ideal and reality, it becomes important to manage one's own energetic engagement with process and the idea of ending. You might start by interrogating your relationship with these concepts: How would beginning with an end in mind help you? What obstacles could get in the way? What helps you decide to start ending? What do you intentionally do to end well? How do you know that you’ve learned what you needed to learn? How do outcomes/products benefit you? Who do you need to be to end something? What will you do to celebrate ending?

“The end of a melody is not its goal: but nonetheless, had the melody not reached its end it would not have reached its goal either. A parable.”

― Nietzche

As you explore your approach to ending and build a toolkit that supports that outcome energetically, consider what it might take to find, as Neil Gaiman says, “somewhere to rest, to stop reading, and to be content,” and take some time to explore the tools below to challenge and build your relationship with your reason for getting things done.  


UFYBHow to Get Sh*t Done 

I have ADHD: Podcast Episode #84: When You Get Nothing Done 

The Marginalian | Probable Impossibilities: Physicist Alan Lightman on Beginnings, Endings, and What Makes Life Worth Living 

Life Hack10 Essential Tips to Finish What You Start 

Zen Habits: How to Finish

Personal Excellence: How to Finish What You Start 

Scott H. Young: How to Build the Habit of Finishing What You Start

Lifehacker: How Do You Know When You're Finished?