The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything. – Theodore Roosevelt
By Dennis Harting
Everyone knows what procrastination is. All of us have experienced this at certain points in our lives. We all put off some activities until we were “forced” into acting. Usually, this happened only after the impending pain of doing nothing outweighed the pain of taking action. We suddenly feared the consequences more than the activity. At this point overcoming procrastination is rather easy. The question is how can we get ourselves to move forward before reaching the point of impending doom?
Before we can answer this, we must first uncover where all of this resides. Fear is an emotion that many will swear is real. Nevertheless, fear does not exist. It is something that our mind conjures up to control a situation. Of course, there are instances where fear is an ally: those circumstances where we are physically in danger. The mind uses fear to create the “fight or flight” response. This sets off a physical reaction that gives the body the added resources to preserve itself. Ultimately, preservation is the goal of the mind. It will do whatever it can to avoid those situations it deems harmful. This is true even if the danger is based solely on perception.
Fear is a tool of the mind. It is not present in the physical world. There are certain physical responses that occur as a result of the mind using fear. However, it is not real. There is no way to touch fear. It is not present or residing anywhere in the body. Fear exists only in the mind. That is the first important realization. Eliminating fear is a mental exercise since that is where it is found. There is not a physical way to remove fear.
The second realization is that it is impossible for fear to exist in the present moment. When one is focusing exclusively on that which is present right now, there is no fear. Fear can only arise if one is focusing upon a time either in the past or in the future. If fear is forcing one to procrastinate, typically that person is looking into the future. The mind sees a situation as potentially causing some pain, so it instills fear in an effort to stop you from moving in that direction. This is a way of preserving itself. Avoidance of pain is what the mind is after.
When one procrastinates, basically the mind looks at the activity that needs attention and foresees an unenviable outcome. Of course, to achieve this end, it focuses attention on a time in the future. This outlook is not based in reality since it is impossible to know what will occur. Nevertheless, the mind takes it as fact. A result that is positive is never considered by the mind. Only the negative is given any weight. Thus, seeing a negative outcome to taking action causes one to procrastinate. The main objective becomes avoidance of the situation. This occurs until the pain of not acting outweighs the pain of taking action.
How do we overcome procrastination? It begins by being honest with ourselves. Anyone who allows fear to cause procrastination is falling prey to something that is not real. Would you hold back because of the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus? Fear is as real as those two figments of the imagination. When you “feel” fear arising within you, tell yourself that what you are experiencing is not real. Also, focus your attention on what is directly in front of you. Fear ceases to be if you concentrate your mind on the present moment. If you want to test this, try to experience fear while remaining present focused. It cannot happen. When you are sensing fear, it is only because your mind moved to a different time.
The Nike slogan “Just Do It” is accurate. Procrastination breeds an atmosphere of inactivity. Taking action instantly smashes this revolting habit. Realizing that we fear the outcome of our actions is what frees us from that grip. The fear we experience is something that our minds made up. Moving forward without regard to how things will turn out is often the solution. The key to success is action. Therefore, remove fear as your jailer. Make a list of things you need to do and get busy. The universe likes to rewards those who take action.
Dennis Harting is one of the leading authorities on success, motivation, and overcoming procrastination. For the past 15 years he has studied some of the most comprehensive techniques used in personal development. He leads a company that offers speaking, training, and individual coaching which helped thousands achieve maximum success in both business and personal affairs. All his programs can be found at http://www.yourrichlifeinc.com.