The Secret To Overcoming Procrastination
The most important thing in overcoming procrastination is to understand what it is and learn how to recognize it. Let’s begin by taking note of where procrastination always shows up. It always occurs related to something positive that you intend to do in your life. Notice that you will never find yourself procrastinating about doing something harmful.
Here is a common example. Imagine you are starting a healthy diet to lose weight. Let’s say that a bag of potato chips sitting in your cupboard is just beckoning you to finish it off. Would you ever find yourself procrastinating about eating the whole bag? Of course not. The only thing you’d be procrastinating about is embarking on the new, healthy diet. It would go something like this: “Well, I can wait one more day to start my new diet. What’s one more day? Besides, I don’t want those yummy chips to go to waste. That would be wrong!” No procrastination problem when it comes to those chips, right?
Procrastination always acts as an impediment to bettering your life in some way. It does not seem to have any problem staying out of your way when you are in the process of making things worse. If you are inclined to do something that is wrong for you, procrastination is nowhere to be found. So now we know that procrastination will only show up when you want to do something good or expansive for yourself. That’s its playing field.
Let’s look at the contrast to see this very clearly. Here is a list of positive things that one might want to do in order to better him or herself and create a happier, more peaceful life: exercise, learn a new skill, implement a new business, spend time with a loved one, eat a healthy diet, get organized, etc. Each of these things will lead to a better, higher quality of life. Who is likely to be your best friend if you entertain any of these ideas? Procrastination of course! It will immediately show up on your doorstep with its warm, fuzzy blanket full of all your bad habits and encourage you to sit on your sofa and do nothing at all.
On the other side of this story is another list: watching hours of TV, hanging out on social media out of pure nosiness, gossiping for hours, eating tasty junk food, watching endless YouTube videos, etc. Try to find procrastination showing up to prevent you from doing any of these things. It’s nowhere to be found, is it?
Okay, so now we have put the spotlight on where procrastination lives. That mystery has been exposed. The next step is to understand its nature. Because we live in a dualistic universe of right/wrong, good/bad, etc., everything you do immediately brings up its polar opposite somewhere in your experience. That is why it is important to choose. Which side of the dualistic fence are you going to fall on?
Let’s say that you are dissatisfied with your life. What is the opposite of that? A satisfying life, of course. What if you don’t have enough money and perceive yourself as poor? What’s the opposite? A higher income and wealth. Suppose you know that you are not living your life’s purpose. What is the opposite? Living your purpose. So wherever you are dissatisfied in life, you will naturally desire to change that by deciding to live its opposite.
You can look at your life as having these two simple components: the things you are happy with and the things you are not happy with. Because we are beings of light and love, there would be no reason to attempt to change what brings light and love into our lives. However, there are tremendous reasons to change what we are unhappy about. Whether we succeed in doing this or not, we will always desire it nonetheless, because we naturally want our lives to exist in harmony with our truest selves.
This brings into bold relief the simple fact that our fundamental aim in life is to change what is unhappy for us into that which is happy. Here is where procrastination enters the picture. It manifests in a number of different forms designed to prevent us from succeeding at this. Why would this happen? It’s because change threatens the fundamental identity that has been fashioned for us by our individual egos. The ego wants you to believe that who you are is what you have become so far. This is not true! The truth is that who you are is the person who has allowed yourself to become what you are today. Do you see the distinction?
If you understand this vital distinction, you will realize that nothing can threaten or change your true identity. It’s not your identity that you wish to change. What you wish to change is the way in which you have manifested the expression of that identity. Are you happy with that expression or not? The ego has you believing that you are the expression itself, therefore you should never change it. But of course you should change it, if it is not authentic to what you really feel and doesn’t make you happy!
The ego’s version of you is like saying that a violin can only play one song. It’s like saying that the violin is the song. According to the ego, if that violin considers playing another song, then the existence of the violin is threatened. It’s like saying that the violin is in danger of becoming a flute, or a drum, or maybe even two pots banging together. Of course we know that this is preposterous. Yet, when it comes to ourselves, we act as though such lunacy could happen to us. We act as though if we express a different outcome in our lives, we might turn into a different person. Well, no you won’t. You will always be the same, exact person. You will just be manifesting something completely different and will probably be much happier as a result.
Procrastination is the result of believing that you are the outcome. It is resistance to a false idea that by changing your expression, you change who you are. It is the result of believing that you are the song, when in truth you are the violin that can play any song you want. You can play an ugly, disharmonious screeching sound or you can play a gorgeous melody. Neither one of these outcomes changes the fundamental reality that you are the instrument playing whichever song you choose.
So the final definition of procrastination is that it is a manifestation of resistance or fear related to a false belief that by changing your life for the better, you run the risk of losing your current identity. Change therefore becomes a survival issue. It is erroneously perceived as a threat to the existence of your core identity. If you believe this, then you have mis-identified yourself. You are therefore saying that the only way to hold onto knowing who you are and finding security in that knowing is to make sure that your outcomes remain the same. At least then, you know that you still exist in an intact, recognizable way, even if you’re miserable. This is why procrastination is often seen as your friend. It is falsely perceived as a protective comfort zone designed to protect your identity and keep it intact.
So what is the secret to overcoming procrastination? The secret is that once you see it for what it is, you realize that it is not procrastination that you must overcome. What you need to eliminate is a false belief that you are your own outcomes. When you understand that nothing in the universe has the power to change who you are, you recognize that you are free to produce any outcome you want. Procrastination ceases to be a major problem, when you realize that it is merely a symptom of this false belief.
What have you learned about yourself as you think about these ideas? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below. I’d love to know your perspective!