Procrastination May be the Secret to Success
We all have something. Those little things that we do to avoid the work we’re supposed to be doing. Every “time management expert” and “success guru” will tell you procrastination is the enemy of progress.
But they’ve got it all wrong.
Instead, I believe it’s in those little activities of procrastination that your truest desires are hiding.
I don’t mean those days you decide to do nothing but lay around watching your favorite TV show (those are a different topic.) What I mean are the types of articles you read, magazines you pick up, YouTube videos you watch, or hobbies you indulge without thought.
It’s in the activities that you would rather be doing that you begin to discover…what you’d rather be doing. Strange, no? It’s in the work that you avoid that you begin to find your weaknesses. As Jessica Hische says,
The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.
But, simply because you avoid a task does not mean that it is unimportant. Most of the tasks and that I’ve avoided involve marketing and sales. Both very important to growing a business, but not things I’m particularly happy to do or even very good at.
Personally, the tools that I’ve used to avoid work most often are blogs, articles, and videos about entrepreneurship, poetry, writing, and painting or designing beautiful things.
The old adage “do what you love and you will never have to work another day in your life.” turns out to be false. The fact is, it takes a lot of work to maintain a sustainable business doing what you love. However, you don’t have to be the one to do it.
When struggling in the new economy of “pick yourself”, it becomes essential to delve into some self evaluation. I know that you’ve been told to discover your strengths and weaknesses before, but I also know it’s pretty hard to figure out where to start. If you don’t have an idea about what you want to do with your potential, or even where your potential lies, then it’s a good idea to start looking at what is already manifesting in your life.
Now those who’ve already resigned to watching hours of TV or some other mindless activity every day, you’ll have to start somewhere else. That “somewhere” is within what you would rather be doing, but can’t because of some lack in resources (money, time, skills, etc.).
When you think about what you would rather be doing, it’s important not to restrict yourself to how much money or time you have. Ask yourself this question:
If time and money were no option, what would I love to spend my life doing?
It’s also important to know that your brain may have spent so much time repressing what you actually want to be doing, that it will lie to you. So keep your brain out of this as much as possible. This isn’t a thinking exercise — it’s an emotional truth exercise.
It might help to put on some relaxing music and just veg or meditate for a while. Let yourself wander and then notice what you daydream about.
A Real Life Example…
My dad was in sales for most of my life. When I was in my mid twenties, he decided that what he really wanted to be doing was affiliate marketing on the Internet. Through all of his research and practice, he continued to believe that this is what he wanted to do. Despite the fact that after three years he had made no money and spent most of his days avoiding his work by reading natural health and garden websites.
I brought this to his attention on a number of occasions, and his response was always “that’s just what I want to do on my free time.” Meanwhile, he spent several hours almost every day in his garden — which produced enough food for him, my sister, my grandmother, myself, and most of our friends and neighbors. It was not a small garden. Often, he would wistfully talk about acquiring a greenhouse, a couple of cows, a goat, and maybe a few chickens.
But he definitely didn’t want to be a farmer.
He had spent most of his childhood growing up on a farm. And recounted horror stories of waking up at 4:00 AM to milk cows, feed mink, and other constant chores that needed to be done in blistering heat, over weekends, and in freezing snowstorms. This was the vision that he had of being a “farmer”, and he hadn’t considered the fact that he didn’t actually need to be the one doing all of these undesirable chores.
So instead, he wanted to be an affiliate marketer who spent no time marketing, and most of his time gardening. It may sound ridiculous in writing, but it’s amazing the types of things you’ll allow your brain to tell you.
What might your brain be lying to you about?
The answer is in your little habits. It’s in the things you constantly avoid doing, as well as in those little things you indulge in. Try this: spend one week just noticing the things you catch yourself doing as you procrastinate. Or the things you catch yourself daydreaming about. Keep a small notebook with you and jot down any time you catch yourself doing something like this. At the end of the week, review your notes and start thinking about the patterns in your behavior and thoughts. What might the inner you be trying to create?
The insights you walk away with will undoubtedly begin to open the door to your true self. The self that you can rely on to make your own way in the world. It won’t be immediate. I actually shadowed myself with a notebook for close to two months to figure out more about what I was doing and why.
What to do with this information will come later (and more naturally than you imagine.) For now, all you need to do is pay attention.
Enjoy the journey.