"The problem with waiting until tomorrow is that when it finally arrives, it is called today. Today is yesterday's tomorrow. The question is what did we do with the opportunity?"– Jim Rohn
Silent Killer of Dreams
Procrastination has been dubbed "The Silent Killer" and I think that is an accurate description. There aren't too many things that will cause you as much agony, and prevent you from your realizing your dreams, than "putting off" something until later that you know should be acted on now.
The subject of procrastination fascinates me! Why do people not do the things they know should be done? Why do they put things off or avoid taking action even when they know it would ultimately be in their best interest? I've been guilty of this and so have you, but I still ask WHY? I think the answer to these questions can be found, at least in part, by understanding what influences or drives human behavior. What forces are at work in our lives that push us to take action or not take action?
There are two powerful forces at work that drive human behavior. I'm not saying there aren't more, but many can be distilled down into these two:
1) Our desire to avoid pain
2) Our desire to experience pleasure
Our minds work in such a way that, if we can gain an understanding of how these two forces will determine our behavior, we can use them to create (literally create) the life we desire and eliminate procrastination forever.
Pain and Pleasure
I know it sounds too simple, but don't let that dissuade you from the fact that these two motivators wield great power over the way we behave. In order to get what you want in your life, you have to figure out what is stopping you from getting it! When you analyze what is preventing you from taking action, and thus getting what you desire, you will find that it is the desire to avoid pain. Of these two motivators, pain is the more powerful for you will always do more to avoid pain than you will do to gain pleasure. When you procrastinate it is because you believe that taking action will bring you more pain than not taking action. Let's say that you want to start your own business. You want to do this because it is pleasurable to know that you will be your own boss, determine your own schedule and perhaps make a lot more money. All of this is pleasurable, right? But then, you never begin the process. Why? Because you have, in your mind, associated more pain to the effort it will take to start your own business (or fear of failing) than to the pain you will experience by not taking action and staying where you are! You truly want to experience the pleasure of having your own business but the pain you've linked to actually starting it is more real to you. That is what you have focused your mind on!
The Time Is Now!
How can you put this knowledge to use and change your life? You must focus your thoughts and your attention on how procrastinating will bring you more pain than actually taking action. You must focus your thoughts and your attention on how pleasurable it will be to take action and to begin. You must decide, right now, that you can and will control the focus of your mind! You must, in your mind, link ultimate pain to not taking action! Ask yourself, "What pain will I experience if I do not do this?". You must also link ultimate pleasure to taking action! You have the ability to do this! Right this moment!
Each of us must take a moment and realize that the clock is ticking. It will continue to tick away whether we take action or not…so take action! Each day is an opportunity and we must realize how valuable that is! It matters not how old you are, where you live, or how many times you have procrastinated in the past. Do that thing you've been putting off! Don't wait another second! Make that phone call, write that letter, or begin the first step to starting your business! Whatever it it is, start now!