Yet another thought provoking post by Mike Cougill on the OST blog…
I have two thoughts in mind and I don’t know if I can connect them in a coherent narrative.
The first is simple, maybe even obvious: you can always find a way to improve.
The second is about unrealistic expectations.
I began painting the brickwork on the warehouse last week…. The test pieces went well…..
However, what if I had screwed everything up?
Well, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world…. That’s why we practice. The knowledge that I have plenty of room to improve the work motivates me to return to it time and again….
So much of what we do in this craft is driven by our desire for a particular outcome.
I need this size of layout in order to satisfy my ideals for operation.
I have to model this to be happy.
I have to make these compromises to move the project along.
We seldom if ever make these choices for their own sake. We make them because we’re married to an outcome that said choices are supposed to serve. And like as not, we’ll cling to that outcome even if doing so makes us miserable.
I question the mentality of a hobby that applauds filling out spreadsheets to schedule and guide the work, or employs business school productivity techniques and endless compromises just to produce a measurable result. I question why anyone would frame and pursue this craft in such a way that they feel guilty over a lack of visible progress. I question the value system that turned the hobby from an enjoyable pastime to a second or third full time job to produce a layout whose size and scope isn’t realistic in any sense.
You can turn model railroading into another yardstick to measure your life against (as if life doesn’t have enough empty metrics to beat ourselves up over). People who dream about the ecstasy they’ll experience when their fantasy layout is complete make their own choices and whether I agree with those choices or not is utterly irrelevant. They’re free to do their thing and I’m free to do mine. I do ask the question of why would we do this to ourselves?
And an interesting comment to the post…
Interesting conundrum. Without some idea of a desired outcome, we may never improve. And yet, it can be too constraining at the same time.
As the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for”!