The Number 1 Dream-Killer: Procrastination

The Number 1 Dream-Killer: Procrastination

Over the past year, I have acquired 35 Ebooks. (I counted) A few of those I paid for, but most are the free, downloadable kind.

I have read one of them to completion. (I counted)
It was 13 pages long, but it only really started on page 6, taking front page, introduction, copyrights and content pages into consideration. So it was essentially 8 pages long, albeit a valuable and concise 8 pages.

Oh, and have I mentioned the 5 half-read hard copy books gathering dust at my bedside? No?

Having accumulated all this reading material, but not having had time or energy or commitment to consume any of it, makes me feel more than a bit depressed and, let’s be honest, ashamed.

I do love a gripping story. Give me a good novel and I will stay up until midnight engrossed in it. Give me a book on how to improve any aspect of my life, and it becomes hard work. Why can’t they write romance novels that teach time management skills or a horror novel packed with motivational punch?

I’ve come face-to-face with one of my biggest flaws lately, something that I am going to need to conquer once and for all if I’m going to be of any good use on this planet: Procrastination. I am so good at it, you have no idea.

What has occurred to me is that procrastination is simply a debilitating form of fear. As soon as something matters – like reading a book that could change the course of my life – I somehow find some reason not to commence with it immediately.

At the heart of it all, I am afraid. I fear failure, the sense of not being good enough. I fear that I’ve missed my calling in life, and it’s too late. As I look at some of the dreams and aspirations that I have, waves of fear and self-doubt literally wash over me. That nasty little voice in my head tells me I’ll never do it. I believe that voice, and I back down.

For a self-proclaimed optimist, that’s a pretty stupid way to live.

Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, writes:

Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.

I’ve been blessed in recent months to realize that there are people in my life who believe in me. For some obscure, unfathomable reason.

It makes me realize what an honour it is to be believed in. I certainly haven’t yet earned that faith.
It also makes me realize that I want my daughter to grow up believing in me, and ultimately learning to believe in herself.

But perhaps the hardest of all, I want to believe in myself.

I think a lot of us are in the same boat, stuck in mediocrity, but too afraid to make the change. Procrastinating dreams until ‘better times’, until we’re ‘wiser’, until… well, we never run out of excuses, do we?

I invite you to join me on my personal challenge.

  1. Examine the little things in your life that you are procrastinating – all those little things that could potentially add up to a world of difference.
  2. Examine yourself: your fears and your reasons for procrastination.
  3. Examine yourself: the reasons why you need to stop putting things off, envision what it is you ultimately dream of. Fuel your desire enough to look your fears in the face, and say “Enough. I start living my dream today.”
  4. Start. Do it. Pick one book, and read it. Pick up a paintbrush, and paint. Choose an online course, and sign up. Just start. Today.

For some more amazing insight on ‘self-talk’ and belief, read this great article by life coach Kirsten Long – it really hit the nail on the head for me.

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