Procrastinating is basically leaving for tomorrow, what you should be doing today. Important tasks are left for later, while been replaced by meaningless activities.
I am a procrastinator. And I am the worst kind. I am the one who procrastinate with my passions. I make all kind of excuses to deviate my efforts and elude my path to reach my dreams, such as, travel the world, write a book or playing in a band. An evil voice in the back of my mind keep saying: “It takes too much effort“, “I am not that good“, “What if I fail miserably?“, etc.
It took me a long time to admit it. I spent many years convinced that this doesn’t affect me at all. But I was wrong. I realized that procrastinating my dreams, gives me a constant dissatisfaction, despite all the accomplishments in other areas in my life. It affects my self esteem. Makes me feel angry, lazy and inadequate. It makes my mood dark and reduce my energy.
I decided to write about what I believe is behind of my procrastination, which are basically, fears, underestimations and over estimations. Here they are:
Fear of failure
Failure terrifies me. The idea of investing effort, time and money in something which might have no return, scares to me death. Beginning a new business, is a nightmare in my mind. After hearing all those stories about hundred of thousands invested in failed start ups, I start thinking that the risk is too big. The fear cause me to play it safe, stay on my stable job, and within the “comfort zone”. Nevertheless, I started accumulating a comfortable numbness which doesn’t goes away so easily.
Fear of rejection
I am one of those who blush when speaking in public. And in order to overcome it, I push myself to get in front of an audience. I remember be all panicked a couple of times. My mind racing about all the things that could go wrong. In a couple of occasions, they went wrong. Once, I couldn’t opened the lyrics for a song in my tablet. It worked all the time before, except when I had to perform. I just repeated the same verse of the song over and over again. It was awkward. But I think, It give me the opportunity to overcome my dread of making a fool of me. To be caught unprepared, horrifies me, because is hard for me to accept disapproval, rejection or criticism
Writing a book? Forget it. It could take years and thousands to be published. Playing in a band? Impossible. I don’t have time for rehearse, neither the money to pay for equipment. Building an app? what do I know about programming? All these thought are me, when I underestimate my capacities and exaggerate the difficulties. Usually my self criticism gets worse when I see or heard people who succeed, because I perceive how far I am from them. Usually when somebody gives me a compliment, I am the one who really get surprised about it.
Overestimate myself and my energy
It might appeared a contradiction with the one mentioned above, but overestimating my capacities is also part of me. And is a way to avoid making effort. In some areas, I just act too overconfident, and sometimes it hit back. For master anything in life, requires a huge amount of practice, even if you are already an expert on it. And practice requires energy which is limited. Sometimes I forget about this, and overload my agenda with projects which I am never able to complete.
Probably, in any endeavor there will be many hassles and the hiccups on the road, and thinks will not go exactly as planned. It is part of the natural entropy, external factors come into place, and we have absolute no control over them. I admit, that I used to focus on the obstacles, and oversee the opportunities that comes with any crisis. Yes. With many crisis or fucked up situations, opportunities appeared. But my first instinct is to focus on the negative. I get stuck in what it didn’t work, instead of seeing it as a step which will help me finally on the road. I just keep focusing in the closed door, when there is no roof on the top.
Underestimate the time and not seeing the obstacles
Again, this might contradict with the last point. Nevertheless, being unaware of the obstacles is just as counterproductive as been too aware of them. In my case, when I’m blind to possible short comings on my plans, when I encounter them, I get frustrated, and I tend to procrastinate again. For example, one of the thing I love is to go and camp outdoor. I remembered once I just went out to a park in the south of Chile without planning properly and didn’t know that was mosquito season. I ended up killing mosquitoes the whole weekend. Was awful. Also I usually don’t take a realistic approach when calculating the amount of time it will take to do anything. So for example, I underestimate the time to complete this article, which is taking me now 3 hours, when I just calculated one hour for it.
Overestimate the importance of being inspired and “in the mood”
I used to wait to be in a relax mood and tried to find a nice spot, in order to feel inspired to write. Now I understand that inspiration, could comes at anytime (in the subway sometimes). And it doesn’t matter in which mood you are. And usually comes more often, if I am just sitting everyday and try to write something. Whatever but something.
Well, this is what I reflected about my procrastination so far. Next post I will write about how I will tackle each of these mind roots which inhibit me to reach my own potential and more important, stop me for reaching my dreams.