Why it’s never sensible to empty oceans with an egg cup.

The Pacific ocean is big. Really big.

So let’s imagine a hypothetical situation in which I solemnly hand you a china egg cup, explaining that your task is to use it to empty the Pacific.

I suspect you’d rightly tell me where to stick my egg cup.


For all sorts of reasons, the job is clearly an impossible one.

But let’s also imagine that you’re the world’s most diligent individual, the one person on the planet who never says no. So, egg cup in hand, you head for the coast, perhaps beginning work before eventually shaking your head at the futility of it all.

Being unable to live up to your own expectations, you’d probably become despondent. You may well simply give up, and very possibly you’d find yourself unable to tackle anything at all, let alone your ocean-emptying job.

Now I’m pretty certain you’re unlikely to face a project quite as big and daunting as this. Equally, though, most of us wake up each morning to a range of problems. Some large, some small.

When you’re feeling strong, you may well simply accept this at face value. That’s just the way it is.

But what happens when you’re not doing so positively? Perhaps the biggest problem of all looms so large that it seems to blot out everything else, making even the smallest job feel impossible.

The thing is, whatever you do today, the Pacific will still be there tomorrow. So instead of sitting there forlornly, gazing out to sea, perhaps it makes more sense to tackle the smaller, more manageable, jobs on your list?

Getting something done (no matter how small) will give you a sense of achievement, and the feeling that, actually, things are possible after all.

3 thoughts on “Why it’s never sensible to empty oceans with an egg cup.

  1. All of your Moodnudges are great but this one really spoke to me today. Thank you. Please keep them coming.

  2. Do you know a children’s story called The Phantom Tollbooth ( see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_Tollbooth)? As soon as I read about emptying the Pacific with an eggcup, I thought of the Terrible Trivium, who told Milo to move a huge pile of sand, one grain at a time, with a pair of tweezers.

    If the task you are looking at feels like that, Don’t Do It, it is simply an energy-stealer! Yes, tackle something smaller, more manageable, but also more meaningful to you.

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