By Pete Ferguson
What’s on your “to do” list today? I’m not talking about doing laundry or taking out the garbage, what are the really big items, like write a book, go to Africa, open a business? And a better question, perhaps, is how long has it been on your list?
Author Rory Vaden of “Take the Stairs” has dissected the eternal inhibitor – procrastination – into three categories that are brilliant.
The first, as Rory pointed out on the Ziglar Success 2.0 webcast hosted by my friend Joel Boggess last night, is the classic procrastination. This year I need to get my driver’s license renewed, but I’ll likely wait until the very last moment because it is a pain. I have so many better choices for my time and the DMV does not value my time in the stupidity of forms, lines, fees, poor customer service, etc. So I’ll likely procrastinate.
The next one really got my attention: Creative Avoidance. I want to start a podcast interviewing 100 people on why they love what they do. I have all the equipment, I’m a tech junky so that part was fun and I knew how to do it. But I keep finding other things to do that are “more important,” or at least I’ve rationalized that the other things are “more urgent.”
Creative Avoidance is the beginning of the graveyard for our dreams and does do us harm because we allow email, Facebook, watching television, playing video games, etc. to take the place of what really matters in life – finding and exploring our true passion. I know I will benefit from my desire to interact with 100 different people, but I keep finding reasons to put it off.
The third type of procrastination I’ll save for another blog: Priority Dilution. This is the death curse of dreams. Priority Dilution is expressed in the regrets on one’s death bed and starts with the words “if only …” or “I wish I had …” You should have. But instead you kept what was most important least urgent on your life’s to do list.
Why do we procrastinate? Fear.
It is that simple. We fear what we do not know. We fear what we have not yet done. We fear if we do something well, we will be successful. And we fear success.
Or at least most of us do. In Rory’s book he highlights eight top achievers who dive into the fear and “take the stairs” instead of riding on the luxury of the elevator where dreams are not exercised. On the elevator, you can shut off your brain and body.
In the current political and financial world, we see countless examples of procrastination and people not wanting to take the stairs. The media is full of interviews of people blaming the government, Wall Street, large companies, anyone and everyone – for their own lack of success.
But the reality is, no one can understand your needs better than you. No one can make a life action plan better for you – than you. As you look inside, all the answers you need are buried deep down, but it takes a lot of work. And as I’m finding, it does inflict pain. But it is also very worth it.
It is painful because as you take a very honest review of your life, you can see where you have creatively avoided difficult decisions and instead gone along for the ride. If you have gone to the final step of diluting your priorities, today is the time to stop doing that. You can achieve anything you want to, but first you have to overcome – well, you.
Learn: What are three things you want to accomplish in life? What would it take to accomplish them? Who is already accomplishing one of those things?
Act: Make a plan, have lunch with someone who is achieving at the level where you want to be. Ask them what they would do if they were in your shoes. Read 10 books on one of the subjects.
Share: Look for ways you can help other achieve their dreams. What are you good at? How can you share through a blog, eBook, podcast, letter, discussion, volunteering?