The case of the dripping tap

As many of you will know I have a large well laid out garden. This has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the foresight of the previous owners. One of the very clever things that they did was to place water taps at various points in the garden so that watering would be a breeze.

About two years ago I noticed one of the taps would occasionally leak. Well, leak isn't quite the word; it was more of a very light drip. This was a problem so I ignored it. About a year ago the drip started to gain momentum. We had some plumbing work done at the house, and as the plumber was leaving we asked him to look at the drip. He told my wife, ”Oh that looks like you will have to dig up the pipe and have it fixed”. As you may have guessed already I ignored this advice as it sounded like a major solution that involved time, money and effort for only a small outcome. And after all, this was only a slight drip.

The problem was, that this drip continued every day, and over time this area of the garden became completely sodden with water. In fact it was a sodden pain (that joke will work for English people, but may not work for you American readers).

So being solution focused (yeah right!) I devised a several ways to divert the flow of water. Please note I did not try to stop the drip. I ignored the real problem. My solution was to attach a long hose to the dripping tap, and divert the constant water flow to an area of the garden that was particularly dry.

This worked for several months and the sodden patch of the garden dried a little. And the dry part of the garden enjoyed the regular watering. However, (of course there is always an however) one day after actually turning the tap on and using the hose I noticed that my solution no longer worked. The dripping tap was now dripping through the hose connection at a regular, although less than before, rate.

Again being a solution focused person (ha ha) I devised another excellent solution. Every day I would swap to different hoses to the dripping tap. This served to divert water to various other places and meant I once again could ignore the base problem.

I think you probably know where this is going. Three weeks ago the sodden area became the flooded area and water started to flow on to my pathway. This was okay because I chose to ignore it and to sweep the water away every day. Solution focussed Man!

Then yesterday I decided for some unknown reason that enough was enough. I had received a leaflet from a local plumber who lived 200 m down the road. I called him and asked him to look at my dripping tap. Within one second he had said “yes you need a new tap”. That was it. He went to his van, got a tap that he had, turned off the water, took off the old tap, installed the new tap. He was gone in less than 12 min. I now no longer have the dripping tap. I do still have a reasonably large area of my garden that we will now refer to as the rainforest. Although I notice this morning, that the rainforest is retreating as the water evaporates and soaks into the ground.


So what does all this have to do with anything?

I knew there was a problem, I had identified its source, and I ignored it every day for two years.

In fact worse than that, every day for two years I walked past the problem looked at it shook my head became a little concerned, and still walked away. In my brain, I was saying to myself “this is just another job you haven't completed, another goal you haven't finished”. There is a great expression, when one door closes another door opens. Yes that's true, however you do need to make sure that the closed door is actually really closed.

So in fact I knew exactly what the problem was, I let my brain tell me that I wasn't the sort of person that completed jobs, and I sought out various solutions that whilst creative, never, ever  addressed the real issue.

And then one day I faced the real issue. The problem had become much bigger than I was prepared to live with any more. So I took some action. The real learning was, that the solution to the original issue that I had ignored, was simple, quick to deal with, and the outcome (a garden that is now not sodden) was a much bigger payoff for me than the cost of having a new tap installed.


So, readers, how many of you ignore identified issues, let a whole pile of unfinished chores build up in your life (and your head), and yet are so close to a solution with the outcome is a much bigger payoff than the outlay of time, money, or effort. Why not today look at one of those issues and deal with it at the source once and for all. The payoff will be massive. And of course then you have developed a new muscle that will compete with the old habit of not completing tasks, and you will start to enjoy the very fact that you complete things. And I guarantee that as that muscle develops you will become someone who does more “stuff” because now your brain is NOT telling you that you shouldn’t start a project because you know you will never complete it.

Now, somewhere there is a picture I need to put up that has sat on the floor for 6 months………..