The Wind-Up
Did you ever play with wind-up toy cars as a kid? The ones where you’d twist the winder and then let it go? If you wound them up a little, they’d go a little. But if you wound them up a lot, and spun the winder over and over until the tension in the tiny coil spring was maxed out, and then let go — whizzzz! — they’d take off like a Virgin rocket from Mojave sand.

We are in a prolonged wind-up period right now. Still weighed down by anchors and surrounded by walls, we couldn’t take off if we wanted to. But we can wind up.

We can wind up to launch the business we’ve never had time to build. We can wind up to climb Kilimanjaro, lunging up and down the stairs till our quads ache. We can wind up to speak Spanish, roast a chicken, and finally learn all of those fancy equations in Excel.

Pre pandemania, I had plans for a six month trip around the world. I still have plans for a six month trip around the world, it’s just been delayed. But maybe that’s a good thing? I can lean into the wind-up. Get all the gear I need. (Duh.) Research Serengeti migration patterns. (December - April.) Scour Google Earth for new surf spots. (I’ll never tell.) Learn a few words of Swahili. (Jambo.) Useful things that I probably wouldn’t have done without a lockdown.

Last week, hidden amongst the Tiger King and Covid memes, I saw a quote:

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Abraham Lincoln said that. Who knows when the US president had time to fell trees, but his point is appropriate. Now is the time to sharpen the axe. The time to wind up. The time to get the spring coil nice and tight so when the walls topple over and we cut the anchors — whizzzz! — off we’ll go.



P.S. For great insights into turning challenges into opportunities, I recommend The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday. It pairs well with Covid.