I have good reason to believe that I am the worse offender of procrastination. I will put things off, even to my detriment. I will spend more energy to avoid doing the uncomfortable things then it would take to actually do them. I do this in all parts of my life. I will avoid the difficult conversations. I will put off going to see a doctor. I will wait until the last moment to start a project as work. And so many more examples. Why do I put things off until they go from mild annoyance to major problems? There are many reasons for this. Most of which I think are common for many people. We are all not a different as we like to think we are.
First on my list of procrastination reasons is the thought that once i have completed “it” I will have nothing left to work towards. I love the idea of working towards a goal. I have had so many unfinished, unrealized dreams. The biggest one that comes to mind is I wanted to be a rockstar. I bought a drum kit with the help of my dad at 16. I spent much of my time playing and working to get good and have a successful band. I then became afraid that if I realized this dream and became successful in music, I would have nothing left to reach for.
So I started to do less work on my creative self. I pushed away the really great friends I had made in my band in high school. I moved to Atlanta and began to push for the dream again only without the same drive I once had. I would go to practise and play shows. As I became more aware of the possibility of success again I pushed away from it. This time for good. I no longer work to play music. I no longer enjoy my creative side as I once did. I tell myself I will but always find a reason not to.
Then, of course, there is the fear of failure. What if I work really hard towards a goal, spend days, months, or even years to reach that goal and I fail. This fear drives me to just not try. It is better to have a dream and think I can succeed the to have a failed goal. At least this is what I have felt for years.
If I fail then I will be a failure. This I have learned is not true. I can fail and still be a valuable person. I still struggle with this idea at times. For instance, I am trying to write a book on anger management and my struggle with it. I really want to get it complete and to the world but what if it is not well received? What if no one buys or reads my book? I will have spent all this time and energy on a failed goal.
This is what I think when I sit down to write. This fear of failure makes the blank screen seem like a much safer place the a screen filled with words. If I never put it out there then it can never fail. But I will also never know if it could have helped someone, even one person. So I have taken to using this idea to hold and make the words come out. I still try to put off the writing as best I can. I am still a procrastinator at heart, most times.
I even do this with things my wife asks of me. I hate to do yard work. I don’t know why I just really don’t like it. So when she will ask me to go mow the lawn I will come up with ay reason why I can’t. “I think it’s going to rain. I can’t mow the yard in the rain with an electric mower.” “It’s to hot right now. I will do it tomorrow morning when it is cooler.” “I had a busy day all I want to do is just relax now. I’ll do it later.” And so on, you get the idea.
I am doing the same thing currently with the painting she wants to do in the house. I will come up with any reason not to help or to get her to not do it so we can spend time together. I have always been this way. It is a battle I fight all the time. I know I should get things done but I find it hard to get motivated to do it.
I will make a positive effort starting today to not find any reason not to start. I will make today a fresh start. I will hear the voice in my head and then tell him he is wrong. That I can do it now. I will look for the small rewards to get the motivation I need to push the lazy, procrastination out. Starting today I will place greater value on myself and work to be the person I want to be. The person who is not afraid to start something new and fail. The kind of guy that welcomes a challenge with open arms and an open mind. For failure doesn’t define me anymore. As Thomas A. Edison said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”