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Everyone at one point in their life, will be faced with a task that seems insurmountable. Whether it be graduating college, separating two flat pieces of a lego, or even bathing an evil, water-hating cat; for any problem though , there is almost always the same set of solutions. You have to have a plan of action, have the right tools, practice if you need to, and if you still can’t do it, try again.
It is never a particularly smart idea to rush into battle without an at least mostly thought-out strategy. A plan can be anything from step by step instructions you got from Wikihow, to a quick run-through in your head of the task before you. Plans are important because they give you an idea of what to expect. For example, you know ahead of time that cats hate water, and that they have claws capable of turning your face into eyeball soup. If you’ve thought your problem through, you won’t be surprised by this, and will instead have a solution, so that you can continue with your task. A plan will also help you determine and remember the order in which you should do certain tasks, like maybe shut the door before you put an evil cat into a tub of water. However, if you have not come up with some sort of plan, you will either spend the remainder of your afternoon chasing a very wet and angry cat around the house or being laughed at by the nearest emergency room doctor as he stitches your face and arms back together.
Even if you’ve got the perfect plan, some tasks cannot be completed without the right tools or skills. Sometimes you need a little help doing certain things, and it's definitely better to use what you can than to struggle and likely fail. Doctors can’t perform surgeries without surgical instruments, just like you maybe can’t bathe a cat without water and 911 on speed dial. The thing is, tools are just as vital to our success as the skills we must have to use them. For instance, if you don’t know how to study, it will never matter how many school books you have, you're still going to struggle or fail the class. So, if you're faced with a task that seems impossible, don’t forget to gather the tools you need and always ask someone for help if you need to.
Depending on the task at hand, sometimes we need to practice a bit before we are successful. Of course, there are tasks you can’t exactly practice, like flying a plane. Most things, though, are obtainable through hard work and repetition. Sometimes it takes 10 tries to figure out how to get a cat into running water without accidentally killing yourself, and that’s okay. Nobody will be perfect at everything, and everyone is bound to struggle somewhere.
So maybe your biggest challenge in life isn't bathing a smelly cat, but the same rules apply to almost any dilemma you might face. What's the catch 22? Sometimes, you follow all these rules, and the cat is still filthy. Sometimes, right when you think you have practiced enough, your plan still doesn’t work out. This is not the end, you just have to try again! Just like in practise, the final result might still be a big fat fail. Maybe you just need to know what it's like the first time so you can be prepared the second time, or the third, fourth, fifth... whatever the case, don't give up so easy! Professional athletes are athletes because they didn't give up the first time they lost a game, just like chefs are still chefs because they didn't give up the first time someone disliked their food. Life isn't about getting things right on the first try, and it's never worth putting that pressure on yourself to begin with.
By now, we have learned that you can’t skip the hard stuff to overcome the harder stuff. You have to look to the future and plan accordingly, especially when you know the task will be difficult. You have to learn how to use to required equipment for the job, and have it ready when the need arises. Most importantly though, practice makes perfect… or at least do-able. So in the case of the inevitable cat bath, the best strategy starts with a plan (shut that door), tools (soap, bulletproof vest), practise (good luck), and if (when) you fail, try again! Don’t let all the smelly cats in this world stop you from achieving your goals!