Procrastination. It should be a four letter word. Let’s make it one: W-A-I-T. I consider myself an expert on the topic because it’s one of my biggest vices. You’ll agree with me when you notice that the last blog I posted was a year and nine months ago. That’s the same amount of time it took my parents to have my sister and me (we were born a year and nine months apart). There’s so much I could’ve — and wanted — to say to you in those 21 months, but hey, I spent my time doing — or not doing — something else. As such, it’s apropos for me to dedicate Real Optimal Living’s Blog Number Two to procrastination. So if you’re one of those people who subscribes to the adage, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” read on.
I’ve realized that the regrets that niggle at us are often caused by what we haven’t done more so than what we’ve done. Call them acts of ommission. Or things we don’t really have to do, but want to… yet the motivation isn’t strong enough to cause us to change the present situation. It is when we are stuck in “fine” or “tolerable” which contributes to our inertia. You already knew that, though.
So what’s new? I’ve discovered the phenomenal strength of “magical thinking” that permits us to believe that we are actually acting/doing/achieving something when we — in fact — are not. Or at least we are not nearly achieving to our fullest potential. Woa. Did I just say “fullest” potential? I forgot momentarily that I’m speaking to fellow Procrastinators; I don’t want to frighten any of my comrades away. So let’s not commit to striving to reach our fullest potential, but aim for at least one proud accomplishment. Work toward things you can be puffy-chested with pride about… whether someone else notices or not. The most important person who’ll know is YOU. So don’t particularly strive for the praises of others, but for the mental “pat on the back” that you’ll provide yourself when you know you’ve achieved a personal goal.
Let me say a bit more about battling foolish magical thinking as it pertains to procrastination. I’ve found that it is far too easy for us to occupy our time. The days seem to pass faster and faster; the minutes too. But what are we actually accomplishing during our “free” time (i.e., the disposable time we have that’s not committed to the “musts” in our lives that pertain to our families, jobs, and health). Admittedly, I watch too much television (not in real-time, but the loads of stuff I record on the DVR). I also belong to two book clubs, so I read a lot of fiction. Okay, okay, I also admit that I like to read my Facebook News Feeds. Those are three time consuming activities that aren’t bad per se, but they aren’t helping me achieve any long standing personal goals. I’d rather be able to tell you that I’ve made headway on one of the two books that I’ve been wanting to write or that I’ve filmed a pilot segment for a TV talk show concept I developed or finished the sketches for two paintings I started a while ago. So what’s causing my inertia? There are numerous factors, including the fear of failure and — more so — the fear of success. The latter pertains to worrying about how life will change if you actually succeed in achieving your (dare I say) fullest potential? Heck, life won’t be any worse than it is today and it in fact may be better. It will be different because you’ll be a little different… at least your chest will be a little puffy with quiet pride.
Don’t self-eliminate by not even trying. The doors will open if you’re walking (I’m not asking you to run…yet!) in the right direction, but even automated doors won’t open if you don’t get close enough to the electronic sensor. So, apply for that new job, volunteer in that organization, start a new hobby, or even type your next blog. You won’t regret having done so, but you will regret it if you don’t.
In summary, I’m ending this blog with two four-letter words: “Don’t wait.”