A piece of white paper on a table, with a hand holding a pencil hovering over it. Lets Talk... Procrastination

Let’s Talk… Procrastination

The path to Inaction

You get an amazing idea and you feel excited, elated. You get goosebumps when you think about it. It’s a great idea. But something is missing. Something isn’t right. Wrong! You are procrastinating.

Procrastination will provide us with plenty of excuses that on the surface appear feasible. The greatest one of these is money. Not enough money to do that thing, start the business, to get the funds, the equipment needed.

To plan for these things, on the other hand, doesn’t require a monetary input, it just needs action in the direction you want to go. You do what you can with what you’ve got, no matter how little that is.

When you pick up your mobile instead of doing that thing you are putting off doing, when you go on social media to watch a video or comment on something that isn’t moving you forward, when you look at other ways to earn money because you think it’s easier – you’re procrastinating.

Everything takes effort and that could be a reason why you are avoiding doing it – the fact that you have to do something hard, that needs effort. Laziness is a character trait that no one wants – there is no “cure” for it except the person choosing to not be lazy.

There are factors we can do something about.

The other factors that cause us to procrastinate are a lack of decision, a lack of confidence (either in ourselves or the process) and a lack of knowledge (which is a factor in confidence).

A Committed Decision

Until you make a decision to do something you won’t do it. That decision has to be definite. That means that there is no option B no “Plan B”. You literally put all your eggs in one basket. And there is where the problem lies.

Most people will never be willing to put all their eggs in one basket out of the fear that they might all break. They forget that the chickens lay eggs daily! Failure is just that – we failed this time but next time we’ll know better.

Edison’s commitment to create the light bulb was failure after failure. But with each failure there was a lesson. So don’t take failure as the end of it all – it’s just a step to getting it better, doing it better next time.

When we make a decision, when we decide that the only way forward is that one thing that we want to do and we “burn all our bridges”, give ourselves no way back to the old way of living, the only way is forward.

I’ve covered decision more deeply in this post.

A matter of confidence

Then there is confidence. Why don’t you go to the gym to start that work out or go for that long walk? Have you made the decision to do that? Do you feel self conscious?

For most people it will be the latter. We make the decision but we look at ourselves and worry what other people are going to say. We have a poor self image. It’s at this time when it’s worthwhile remembering that the people that go to the gym go there for a reason – to look better, get healthier and feel better about themselves. The same reasons why anyone goes to the gym.

When we are not sure of something we procrastinate. We stop ourselves in our tracks and do something else instead, find something that we are more confident with and something we know about. In other words, we’re doing what we did before.

Our own self belief in our abilities will cause us to put something off because we don’t want to fail, be criticised or look like a fool in front of others. But anyone who is anyone has failed and got up to do it again better. Elon Musk is a modern example of this.

A lack of self confidence in ourselves and what we are capable of will stop us from moving forward. We forget that confidence can also be build on knowledge.

Knowledge

This is not general knowledge. If you are a historian you are going to read history books to increase your knowledge of history. You’ll pick up books on your subject, read them and study them. There will be books you’ll only read once, but there will be other books that you will read again and again.

Soon you’ll find that your knowledge is not only greater than before but you have much more stored for usage, as and when you need it.

With greater knowledge in your SPECIFIC field you are going to find yourself getting more confidence. Where as before you might have sunk into an armchair during certain discussions, you are now sitting at the edge of the chair, leaning forward, headlong into a discussion on a subject you were not willing to get involved in previously.

Take this web page for example. I set it up in 2016 but it wasn’t until I had learned some HTML and CSS, so that I could change the look of it to how I wanted it, did I make any progress. I procrastinated because I felt it wasn’t “good enough”.

Then there was the content (the reason the first posts are so small). I didn’t believe that I could write anything. It doesn’t mean that I believe I know everything I need to know; I know enough to know and believe what I write about and that there is always more to learn.

With knowledge we gain confidence and with confidence we overcome our procrastination and procrastination habits.

And yet there is one major key in all of this in overcoming procrastination.

Action

Without action there can be no movement. That is a fact. You can’t expect to move forward if you don’t take a step in the right direction.

Sometimes, even when we lack the confidence to do something, when we feel we don’t know enough and the voices in our heads are shouting at us to stop, not move, be cautious, by taking action in the right direction we overcome those fears and our procrastination.

Action is the only way we can prove to ourselves that we can do something or are willing to do it. And even if it fails the first time, just like we did when we first fell of our bike, we get back on and go for it again. Sooner or later we’ll get it right.

When you have decided to do something do not stall – just go ahead and do it. It may not be perfect but nothing ever is. Nothing is perfect. Each of us has flaws but we have been gifted with the perfect instrument to overcome any adversity – our mind.

Procrastination has killed many a dream. Decision is the first step towards the dream. Knowledge provides the know -how and with it the confidence. Action makes it happen.

What are you procrastinating on? What dreams are laying dormant within you, wanting to break out? What are you not giving to the rest of the world? What are you not giving yourself?

Procrastination is opportunity’s natural assassin.
Victor Kiam

Procrastination, the opposite to decision, is a common enemy which practically every man must conquer.
Napoleon Hill, “Think and Grow Rich”

Photograph by: Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash


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