Hiding Behind Procrastination
Never really try so you never really disappoint.
I have a problem. This problem has spanned over thirty years. To this day it shows no signs of letting up.
I procrastinate. I resist.
Not here and there, but all the time and about things that mean the world to me. It’s akin to Steven Pressfield’s “Resistance Theory” he talks about in his book The War of Art.
I’m heartbroken at where my life has led up to this point. Though I am fortunate to have a roof over my head, transportation, a job, and a spouse that loves me, I still feel… well… empty. All the years I’ve been on this earth — going to school, going to work, juggling life — I have exactly nothing personally to show for it.
Ever since I was a child, I would get excited about something and quit soon after. It got to the point my grandmother would tell me, “Why are you bothering? You’ll never work that hard and you’ll quit anyway.”
Baton twirling? Stopped in a few days. It was cool, but I got bored quick.
Soccer? Lasted at most a week. Great exercise, but balancing a ball is hard, apparently.
Junior cheer squad? Fun, but I quit a few months in after embarrassing myself at the first performance. I never was that coordinated.
After the blur of high school and college, the more mature me would surely stick to something, right?
Web Design courses? I had a blast and loved it! It lasted exactly six months, the length of the entire course. Just the thought of finding clients scared me so I said, nope, not for me.
Japanese language courses? One of my most recent loves. I studied hard for a few years, but even that time it was on and off. Things got hard and I quit for a month or two. The pattern is still ongoing.
Writing fiction and non-fiction? Nope, that didn’t, or should I say, hasn’t, stuck either. I love it — my God I love it! But again, it’s hard and takes a lot of mental work, so I promise myself I’ll write something and then procrastinate for hours until it’s time for bed. “Oh look, bedtime! Gotta stop if I want to get to work on time tomorrow.” (My typical retort.)
If only tomorrow would come.
I put things off. I quit. I promise the world to myself… but tomorrow. Always tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next month. Maybe the next year.
It’s sad really. I get to a certain point in things and then put them off until I stop altogether. I’ll play for a bit and get distracted by social media or something else just as bad like binging on Netflix. Time flies and before I know it months have gone and I’m still at the same place as… a month ago? No, try a few years ago!
I’m not progressing. And it’s slowly killing me. I know why I do it, to a point, anyway. It’s this messed up notion that if I never really try hard at something, then I never really disappoint myself by failing at it. I don’t give myself the chance to fail. I wasn’t trying anyway — it wasn’t my real effort, so I didn’t truly fail at anything.
If I never really try hard at something, then I never really disappoint myself by failing at it.
Yeah, it makes no sense. One hundred percent faulty logic on my part. And yet, here I am. Before I wrote this piece, I was staring at my partially blank manuscript I started a year ago. Fifteen minutes in I closed the document and said out loud, “I just don’t know what to write. I guess I’ll try again tomorrow.” Which… tomorrow rarely happens.
I hide behind procrastination. It’s an excuse to never put my all into something for fear I can never master it.
But isn’t failing a part of learning? We aren’t perfect. Most of us cannot try something we’ve always wanted to do and get it right on the first try or even the twentieth sometimes. It takes practice, which means failing will happen.
I need to step out from the errant teachings of my parents and realize that failing does not equal bad or wrong. It means you learned how not to do something, which can be more valuable than just getting lucky on the first go around.
Failing does not equal bad or wrong. It means you learned how not to do something. It’s valuable in its own right.
Step into the light.
I need to imagine the possibilities of what I can achieve if I put my heart and soul on the line and give it, be it writing or something else, an honest shot. And maybe that’s the problem. What am I capable of if I try? Fear of my potential definitely has me wanting to run back into procrastination.
Avoid procrastination’s shadow and venture outside of your comfort zone. This is my endeavor. This is my promise… for today and tomorrow.
How do you combat the thrall of procrastination?
Do you journal or write morning pages?
Do you meditate?
Let me know in the comments so we can all learn from those who’ve battled the gremlin and won.