Day 658: My Monkey Said No

Vik Nithy gives an interesting and simple to understand Talk about procrastination, he uses some humourous analogies to monkeys which is why the title of my post is so...

One of the main reasons we procrastinate is because we look into the future and project what the task is going to be like. We imagine that it's difficult to do, it feels overwhelming, we fear not being good enough and failing. We imagine that this task is a huge thing that looms over us, glaring menacingly. We get lost in this nightmare of our future and get lost in fear, anxiety, overwhelmingness and self judgement. Most of the time these worst case scenarios we predict are not accurate reflections of reality. Because we get lost in the 'what if' we do not give ourselves the opportunity to slow down, breathe and look at the task practically, assessing what must be done and planning it for ourselves in a manageable way. Instead, we get stuck in our fears, like fearing that we will fail the task - at least when we wait till the last minute and rush to complete we can blame our failure on the fact that we did not put much effort in, thus protecting our self image and not becoming 'a failure' in our eyes.

Another reason is that sometimes we wait for the 'perfect conditions' to arise, like being 'in the zone' before being able to do something. In this case we will wait and wait and wait, and that perfect set of circumstances never comes. Maybe we will have moments where we can move and do the thing - but we always fall back to the point of waiting. This waiting for things to happen is a common theme in human nature across many different areas of our lives - we do not use our ability to create the lives we want, we do not take the full responsibility to do what must be done. A part of this may be due to the fear of failure again (if I never try then I'll never fail), but it isn't always.

The funny thing is that we KNOW it's stupid to procrastinate. We KNOW that it is detrimental to our experiences and diminishes us. We know that failure is no excuse, because we KNOW that failure is a learning experience, after which we are more capable of doing more and reaching further.

There are ways that we can make it easier for ourselves to do what we should be doing. We can take a moment to consider the task and plan it practically. We can stop ourselves from becoming emotionally wound up and blowing the whole thing out of proportion, leading to the experience of being overwhelmed. We can break the task down into segments and assess how long it will take to actually complete each mini-task. We can close our eyes and see ourselves actually doing the task, giving us the confidence and feeling that we have the power to do it.

We can set ourselves up to win - make sure that there are no distractions, lay all the tools we need for the task in front of us - MINIMIZE your potential EXCUSES. If we reduce the possible excuses that we could use then we give yourselves the space and opportunity to move through the initial resistance we'll experience until self direction simply becomes a part of us. We must realise that we may run into problems and we must not allow ourselves to give up, say that we'll solve them later, later will never come. We have to be the directors of our lives. We have to create and test solutions until we find the best one. We have to act now.