Lion’s Head, Snake’s Tail

There is an old 成语, or chinese idiom that my parents always say to me: 虎头蛇尾, or translated literally, lion’s head, snake’s tail. It honestly is a back-of-the-hand insult, meaning that you start too many things but never tend to finish them.

Honestly, it describes me quite well. I always have this huge amount of enthusiasm when I begin a project, and for a couple of days, seem to live off the adrenaline rush that accompanies it. I start reading up, getting signed up for everything, and just so heavily involved in every little aspect of it.

Yet, wherever I go, I leave behind a trail of projects that have fallen by the wayside, forgotten or covered up in utter shame. There is so much that I do that just ends up in nothingness.

When I translated this idiom in google translate, it actually gave me the term “anticlimax”, which I suppose makes quite a bit of sense. You tend to build and build and build, but suddenly you hit a brick wall and *poof*, all of your work has gone away.

My attitude tends to make me a person who is a “jack of all trades, master of none”, as I have pointed out several times earlier. I like to dabble, to get involved in the amateur stuff, but my weakness is in persisting through with an idea; to see it to its end. I might blame my short attention span; I might attribute it to low willpower. But whatever it is, it is one of my major flaws.

In fact, procrastination really tends to stem from this. If there is something that I am supremely interested in, I couldn’t afford to procrastinate! It is that I just slowly lose interest and the project falls, dead to my mind.

There are ties to education as well; why I love reading popular science articles yet find it difficult to really sit down and learn. I want to be stimulated, but I’m afraid of putting in the energy.

Like all habits, this is something that I need to slowly work on, day after day. It might just mean doing something that I don’t like very much, just to get into the habit of working. Maybe it means forcing myself to love and to learn even when it feels like that dark cloud of gloom is upon me again. Whatever it is, it is something that I need to change.

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One thought on “Lion’s Head, Snake’s Tail

  1. haha I’ve heard this from my parents before too. It’s hard to tell what the difference between lack of self discipline and lack of interest is, and why society seems to ignore the latter as a significant problem. Arguably though, everyone shows this trait of starting up excited, or else the idiom wouldn’t have been popularized.

    AND WHY ARE YOU WRITING A POST AT NOON ON A SCHOOL DA- oh, right. ugh, enjoy break before you’re forced to start learning again. :P

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