Procrastination Is Not Living Your Life: It’s Living It Without Living
My three adopted ideas from Steven Pressfield’s book reduced my daily resistance and accelerated my productivity.
Every time we sit down to write or make something, we are often stopped from starting by a force that stops us from typing the first word, writing that first page, or shooting those first few seconds of a video.
The evidence suggests that most of us live two lives, the life we live and the life that remains unlived within us. There could also be something called resistance that stands between us and the possibility of overcoming procrastination.
This is actually an amazingly profound insight. It completely changed the way I looked at life and productivity.
It helped me stop procrastinating, and I will share some key points from the book that helped me figure out my own method of beating procrastination, and hopefully, they will work for you.
1. Knowing your enemy is crucial.
Our enemy is not procrastination or laziness. It’s ‘resistance.’ So the first question we need to address is what resistance is?
Resistance is the negative force that’s actively working against us to stop us from doing the things we want to do. It doesn’t stop us from watching a movie or watching an NBA game — instead, it stops us from doing anything that we know in our hearts is going to level up our lives
Resistance comes in when there is a force holding us back from doing creative or entrepreneurial things or things that require any level of risk-taking or putting ourselves out there.
Whenever we try and do any of this stuff, we always have to go up against this hill of procrastination that’s a constant battle, and there’s a nice quote from the book.
We don’t tell ourselves, ‘I’m never going to write my symphony.’ Instead, we say, ‘I am going to write my symphony, I’m just going to start tomorrow.’
The lesson #1 I learned.
I faced the same situation a year back when I thought of writing my blogs or even starting my youtube channel. The first set of questions that popped up were:
- Maybe, the timing is not right.
- I should have a studio first for my recordings.
- How will I compete with the affluent writers we have on medium?
- Why would anyone care for my blogs and videos?
This resistance was all procrastination that was building within me and this, in turn, created fear resistance. Fear is actually an excellent thing because when we feel scared about doing something, it usually means we should do the thing.
So, I had to start somewhere, at some point in time — and I started during pandemic times. My initial focus was writing every day, breaking down my topic ideas into small chunks, and writing to express myself and not impress anyone.
As Steven says in the book —
Fear is actually a very good thing because when we feel scared about doing something it usually means we should just do the thing. The more scared we are of a work or calling the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
2. Being a professional vs. amateur.
We need to figure out some ways of dealing with our procrastination, and the first one is the professional versus the amateur's idea.
An amateur takes action whenever inspiration strikes or when they’re in the right mood, they’re not committed, and the goals are focused on fun money.
A professional shapes their life so that the work is a priority they’re determined and committed to succeed by following their inner drive and creative spirit.
The only way we can deal with resistance is if we become a professional with our work rather than an amateur — Steve Pressfield
This is interesting! A professional who takes pride in the work itself will show up every day to the job no matter what. He/she will work through all adversities and always want to improve and be more inclined to grow from the feedback.
The lesson #2 I learned.
Once I decided to get into my content writing, my mindset was clear : once I am in, I am fully in and committed to making this venture successful.
- I knew from the beginning that I am striving to be a ‘brand maker,’ and all my initial achievements will be just the beginning.
- I focused on learning from the best, writing consistently, and start looking at failure as a path to growth and mastery.
3. Banish the ego.
I’ll do my thing whenever I feel like it because that other thing doesn’t really work. On the contrary, if you’re creating something like a pro, key point number three is we need to banish the ego.
Once we’ve become a professional, the next thing we need to do is recognize the ongoing battle between the self and the ego, and the way I see this is that our ego is more focused on external events and how other people see us. In contrast, the self is this inner calm that we have.
When our ego leads us, our main priority is to maintain the status of the ‘I’ in the world, and we’re just focused on how external events affect us, and everything is very superficial and surface-level.
Then we’ve got the self-made up of our minds' individual and collective unconscious areas, including our dreams, intuition, visions, and aspirations. This encompasses the deepest form of who we are, and when we sit down to create, we’re attempting to channel the self because it’s through the self that we can beat resistance.
The lesson #3 I learned.
This came up directly from lesson#2. As I was penning down my goals for 2020/21, I decided to keep my goals that are within my control and ignore the external factors.
For instance, striving for a million views or acquiring followers on my youtube channel or writing platform is not within my control — so, I ignored it completely. The only thing in my control is making the videos, writing stories, and making sure that I am putting together rich, meaningful, and quality content.
I hope you get something out of this story and implement it according to your goals and processes you might have defined and strive for the best in life. Feel free to leave your comments and let me know your thoughts.