Overcoming Procrastination in Order to Achieve Excellence
One of the most inhibiting forces that stop people from actualizing and maximizing their potential is procrastination. Many of you who are reading this article are currently procrastinating about engaging something that you have wanted to do for years. Procrastination can be the result of fear, which we will address shortly. Procrastination seemingly offers the convenience of putting off for tomorrow what should be done today, but actually, it is worse. Procrastination is actually the manifestation of fear, the lack of desire, uncertainty or indecision.
The Reason That it is Important to Overcome Procrastination
One common issue is that many people don’t view procrastination as a problem, but they see it more as a relief mechanism that allows them to avoid those things that they are uncomfortable doing. The problem is growth is not developed within the confines of comfort, it is developed in the fertile soil of adversity. One thing that I have learned in working with people is that most of them are aware of the promise of their potential. They understand that they have the potential to accomplish some extraordinary things, and they want nothing more than to realize the promise of their potential; however, they lack a lucid perspicacity of the principal of “process.” The principal of process dictates that the promise associated with potential can only be achieved through “process.” So, before there can be an attainment of the promise, there must first be an endurance of the process — meaning that there will be some difficulty, disappoint failure and struggle along the way. Most people look to circumvent the process. They want the promise, but they are unwilling to engage the process. This is futile!
Procrastinating may allow you to avoid the vicissitudes and conflict associated with your destiny, but it also blocks you from actualizing your potential and achieving your destiny.
Procrastination — Symptom of an Underlying Issue
One of the first steps in overcoming procrastination is to understand that it is not the issue, but a symptom of an underlying issue — in most cases, fear and uncertainty. In fact, most negative overt behavior is actually the manifestation of symptoms that are indicative of underlying issues that may not be visibly clear. So, as with any negative condition, the best modality for dealing with procrastination is to deal with it at the source — meaning you must discover what it is that is causing you to procrastinate in the first place.
While many consultants and coaches will suggest the implementation of self-discipline practices and time management measures, I prefer to deal with the issue at the source. Implementing superficial mechanisms, such as time management and self-discipline models, will provide some level of improvement, but it is like putting ointment on a mosquito bite. The itching may stop momentarily, but if the mosquito remains in the room, it is likely that you will be bitten again. By getting rid of the mosquito and taking the necessary steps to ensure that more mosquitos can’t get in, you effectively put a stop to the existing problem.
Procrastination is primarily driven by two powerful elemental forces, desire, and fear. Desire serves as a type of fuel or catalyst for progression or moving forward. Where there is no desire, there will be a lack of motivation to achieve anything. Fear can be viewed as a fog that has the capacity to completely surround a desire and quench or stifle it. For most people, fear is always present, but it is when fear becomes greater than desire that procrastination enters the picture.
When I engage a client, a take a dichotomous approach, looking for ways to minimize fear, while maximizing desire. Something else that is worth mentioning is that it is necessary to underwrite desire with purpose because that desire that is superficial will dissipate when challenged. Desire that is underwritten by purpose will be fueled by the passion that is inextricably connected to that purpose. There is no greater force than “purpose” to drive a person toward excellence and their destiny.
Suffering from a Lack of Desire
As much as fear can be an inhibiting force in slowing progression and growth, it is possible to have a lack of desire outside of the presence of fear. While there are multitudinous causes for the lack of desire, the most common reason is a disinterest in the task or responsibility in question. This is seen often when people are attempting to pursue paths that others have chosen for them. It is immensely difficult to become motivated to do something that you are not passionate about. Success is hard work, and it requires perseverance and endurance, and the lack of desire born from disinterest will cripple progression.
This is why it is important for you to follow your own inner compulsions that manifest themselves as desires. No one else can live your life, and, for this reason, they should not be allowed to choose the path that you must take. You must choose your path, and that path should be clearly aligned with your desires, passions, and values.
Dealing with Fear
Fear is the second underlying cause of procrastination, and if the level of fear that a person is experiencing is high enough, it can literally paralyze them. In fact, a person can have a desire to accomplish a certain task, but if their fear is stronger than their desire, they will be compelled to procrastinate. Fear can manifest itself in any number of ways, fear of pain, fear of hardship, fear of failure, fear of uncertainty, fear of not having control, fear of public opinion, fear of rejection or the fear of being alone.
While it can seem bizarre that fear would play such a major role in determining whether a person will take action to pursue their dreams and visions or not, if you would carefully examine and anatomize the areas in your life in which you are procrastinating, you will discover that fear is an integral part of that process of procrastination.
The key is to determine why you are procrastinating. Is it a lack of desire, or are you suffering from fear, or it may be a combination of both? Once you have identified the source, you must confront it rationally and deliberately. This does not mean that you move into the realm of denial, pretending that the impediment is not real. If you have a lack of desire or a significant and unhealthy fear, it is paramount that you address it, and take the necessary steps to move beyond it. In the coming days. I will be contributing some simple steps that people can use to help them move past the impediment of procrastination, by dealing with the lack of desire and fear that is at the core of the problem.
It may be necessary for you to seek the help of a professional therapist or life coach, depending on the depth of your particular issues. The truth is that no matter how bad it may seem, you can get past it; however, the journey to elevation is not one of ease and comfort, and it also does not serve the risk averse well at all. You are going to have to be willing to put some skin in the game. If you are serious about living life at the level of your design, you may be an ideal candidate for my Elevation & Empowerment course. In this course, I will work directly with you to determine the source of your lack of progress, and help you discover and implement solutions that will allow you to experience next level living. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace, Ph.D.