FFXIV at least gets mentioned in this one!
#49: “It Rained a Lot in Tokyo This Autumn (2015)”
Published in 2015/12/17 issue
I feel like it rained a lot this autumn in Tokyo. I don’t have any statistics so I can’t say for sure that I’m right, but nevertheless, I feel like it did. The other day, some kids at the elementary school near my home were talking about practicing for the autumn track meet, and they hoped that the event would get cancelled due to rain. (Just so we’re clear, I simply overheard them as I was passing by.)
That autumn track meet reminded me of the marathon race I did when I was a student. Yeah, back then, I also desperately hoped that it would be called off. I didn’t mind running, but to me, it seemed to consist of gathering at school, going far away on a bus, getting off even further away from the goal than we started, and then running until we got there.
Now, I won’t deny that it’s good to experience “chasing a goal” or “getting closer to an objective one step at a time.” There are many times in life when you’ll question why you have to do something, and of course, I’m not saying that you should blindly go along with it.
However, I don’t think there’s any need to attach rankings to these things. Regardless of whether you were faster or slower, you still traveled the same distance and achieved the same goal as everyone else. That’s why kids don’t like it. When their parents ask how well they placed, it’s assigning worth to the goal of “doing better than last year’s performance”, even though there should also be value in steadily heading towards your objective, reaching the finish line, and learning and experiencing new things along the way. If you want to assign rankings, at least stop at 3rd place. Everyone knows that the following ranks aren’t “worth” anything anyway, right? (Is this irrational?)
The same can be said about work. In student marathons, even if you get tired halfway through and switch to walking, you’ll still finish in about three hours. And just like a marathon, a work objective is no short distance.
Let’s say your superior gives you a vague order like “Finish up these documents in 2 hours.” In reality, the work objective isn’t simply to “finish the documents in 2 hours”—you have to consider who they will be presented to, how they will be used, and what results they will have. The time limit itself is simply a deadline. What exactly does “finishing up” the documents mean? If they’re already almost done, shouldn’t you finish them yourself? Wouldn’t that better accomplish the objective of the documents themselves? But I digress.
When trying to achieve a goal in work or school, you need to pace yourself like in a long-distance race. Of course, everyone has different goals, and the distance and time required will vary by person. If a high school freshman sets a goal for themselves to pass the entrance exam for so-and-so university, the time period for that goal becomes 3 years. They can pace their daily classes and self-study for the next three years based on the admission requirements for the university, the expected exam coverage, etc. Setting this goal also sets a target time to reach—three years from now.
At work, if you decide to work hard to earn this month’s paycheck, then that becomes your goal for the next month. If you don’t mind lower wages, then all you have to do is pace yourself based on your workload so that you won’t make any big mistakes. This has nothing to do with speed. It’s more important to know your present capabilities, create a plan, and follow it, while occasionally checking the remaining distance to your goal and adjusting your pace and methodology accordingly. So, the distance and time span of your goal should be clearly defined. If you start running without knowing these, then you can’t pace yourself, and running will only tire you out. There are limits to your abilities, so you can’t run at full speed forever.
There’ll always be times when you don’t want to work, and I’m no exception. While I do ponder the reason, whether it be fatigue or stress, I’m still not quite sure myself. If I had to give an answer, I think that it’s often because there’s something else that I really want to do instead. When this happens, I recheck my pace and the distance to my goal, and if it won’t ruin my plans, I’ll stop working and take care of the other thing I wanted to do. Once I’m satisfied with the enjoyment that I was expecting from it, I go back to work.
However, if there’s a problem with my current pace, then I have to set aside some time to think about whether I should prioritize getting back on track or if the problem instead lies in the distance measurements. The reason for falling behind often ends up being that I did what I wanted to first. In other words, it came back to bite me. This means that I have to get back on track, and I can’t indulge in my wishes until after there’s enough leeway in the distance and time remaining. I feel like it’s easier to work when I think “I just have to work hard for now.”
I am currently writing this column at four minutes past midnight on November 24th, 2015. The deadline is in 12 hours. I should’ve done this yesterday, but instead I prioritized clearing FFXIV’s raid, Alexander (Savage). And honestly, today I wanted to run The Minstrel’s Ballad: Thordan’s Reign.
Instead, I checked the column schedule and realized that I didn’t have a column prepared, so here I am now. Since I’m really feeling the significance of goal-setting and pacing, I ended up writing about them. Anyway, I’m glad that the Famitsu column team doesn’t judge us based on the order in which we submit our manuscripts. Columns don’t get cancelled due to rain, so it doesn’t matter that it’s raining a lot in Tokyo this autumn.