The Underlying Mental Model

The reason why a long list is overwhelming is because underneath the task list is a view: 1) we think this is a list that we need to finish; and 2) we fear that if we can’t finish it or at least stay on top of it, we will be inadequate in some way. We base our self-worth and safety on whether we can finish this list … but it’s too long to finish! In fact, a task list will never be done, even when you die.

This is an unhelpful mental model that produces stress and overwhelm.

Instead, I propose a different view: Tasks are options that we can use as we create the art of our lives.

Imagine you have a big palette of paints, and you get to use them to paint your art on a canvas. You don’t feel like you need to finish all the paints on the palette, right? It’s not a matter of getting them all done so you can avoid feeling inadequate.

Instead, the paints are your supplies for making art. They’re things you can dip your brush into, to create the art of your life.

You can have fun with your art. You can fully express yourself and the deepest truth of yourself. It’s a whole different game.