The benefits of having a bucket list

Benefits of having a bucket listNot being a native English-speaker, I don’t always know every English expression out there. So it was only last year that I came upon the term ‘bucket list’. But what are the benefits of having a bucket list?

For those of you who don’t know either (here’s to hoping I’m not the only one!), the ‘bucket’ in ‘bucket list’ refers to the expression ‘kicking the bucket’.

Y’know… Croaking it. Pushing up the daisies. Buy the farm. Bite the dust.

Die.

In other words, your bucket list is the list of things you wanna do before you kick that proverbial bucket.

… And what does this have to do with confidence? As always, thanks for asking.

As long as I’ve studied confidence, success, and self-development, I’ve seen a strong correlation between one’s amount of confidence, and the way one sets goals for oneself.

Indeed, show me someone who have no goals at all, and I’ll show you someone who’s treating themselves way less confidently than what’s good for them. Well, either that or they’ve somehow reached Nirvana.

These guys have absolutely nothing to do with the benefits of having a bucket list.
No, the other one.

Of course, just because you have a bucket list it doesn’t mean you’re treating its items like goals, per se. Indeed, you could’ve just written it down once upon a lazy afternoon only to let life get in the way and forget all about it.

But if you’ve never determined anything you definitely wanna do before you die, then what might be the chances of you pursuing it??

That’s right. So there’s one of the benefits of having a bucket list, right there.

And here’s another thing:

The more specific your bucket list, the more chance of you actually pursuing its items rather than just letting it slide.

Ever heard about the concept of setting SMART goals? The idea is that whenever you decide upon doing something, you’ll increase the likelihood of it happening manifold by making sure it’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

For example, if someone’s goal is to ‘lose some weight’, it’s neither.

But if someone wants to lose 10 pounds of body fat in 6 months by abstaining from processed and sugary foods; eating vegetables and lean meat every day, and doing at least 30 minutes of cardio Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays…

Yeah, that’s pretty SMART.

No, you can't have candy if you wanna lose weight.
These all count as vegetables, right?

I try to live by the concept of SMART goals.

So, one of the benefits of having a bucket list is that you set yourself up for actually accomplishing what you want in life. And this says a lot about one’s confidence.

But it definitely goes the other way, too. The more you accomplish of what you want in life, the bigger your confidence will necessarily grow.

ACTION POINT:

If you haven’t got a bucket list, make one right now.
It doesn’t have to be meticulously detailed. Just take 1/2 hour to jot down 10-20 things you wanna do in your life, big or small.
If it helps, try to look at your life in different areas. E.g., what do I want when it comes to career, living, travel, sports, health, relationships, family, creativity…? Etc..

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Raise your awareness, raise your confidence

If you raise your awareness in the critical areas of your life, you clear the path for growth and confidence.In the world of self-development you often hear people like Tony Robbins and Bob Proctor advising you to how to raise your awareness, and talking about how to do it. But why are we so seemingly obsessed with raising our respective awarenesses?

There’s a quote by C.G. Jung that says, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” And I think this holds the key to understanding the purpose.

See, a lot of people — far too many if you ask me — get stuck in life because they tend to focus on the uncontrollable negative circumstances that happened “to” them, rather than becoming aware of what they can do themselves to change those circumstances.

And by the way, I put the word “to” in quotation marks because uncontrollable things don’t happen “to” us. Because there’s nothing inherently personal about accidents and tragedies. Shit happens. It’s simply that kind of planet. If we wanna move on, we just have to deal with it.

And if you’ve decided that you wanna deal with those circumstances instead of letting them get to you, this is where you gotta make the unconscious conscious. This is where you gotta raise your awareness.

If your dream is to make it as a singer, but you sing outta key, you gotta be aware of the pitch of your voice. Unless you wanna end up the next Florence Foster Jenkins — at best.

If you’re unaware of what technical qualifications it takes to get your specific dream job, you’d have to be extremely lucky to somehow acquire those skills AND nail the job interview.

And if you don’t raise your awareness around how you affect other people, chances are you’re not gonna make very many friends.

If you want friends, you better raise your awareness about how you affect other people.
Apart, maybe, from imaginary ones.

I could keep making examples, but you get the point.

If you don’t raise your awareness in those key areas, you’ll get more and more frustrated about stuff happening “to” you, eventually ending up like one of those “excuse-makers”.

You know, the people who will spend more energy letting you know about why they allegedly “can’t” do Y. — Instead of figuring out, for example, how to approach Y by doing X or Z instead.

The sad reality is, though, that if your barrier isn’t within your frame of consciousness you literally can’t overcome said barrier. If you’re not aware of something you’ll be lucky to change it by a fluke, if at all.

If I asked you to give me a quick recap of Ulysses, you’d pretty much need to have actually read Ulysses at some point. Or at least somehow gotten a recap yourself.

And if I asked you to name me the one biggest reason why you’re not working on your dream right now, you’d have to at least give it some thought before answering. You’d have to consult your personal experience to gather mental data.

In other words, you’d have to raise your awareness around it.

Okay, but how does confidence follow from heightened awareness?

Well, I’m not saying that confidence will necessarily follow as a natural consequence thereof. Certain sensitive people might become self-aware about certain unfortunate personal traits and then initially feel embarrassed about them.

When you raise your awareness, you might discover something embarrassing. Don't be discouraged!
Aaaaaawwwwwww…

But the more you’re aware of yourself, the more you have the potential to make lasting change. And you can’t grow into the person who’ll live your dreams if you don’t become aware of what’s holding you back.

And furthermore, higher awareness isn’t necessarily a means to an end; it’s an end in itself.

Like knowledge. Like experience. Hell, like laughter.

So by all means, raise your awareness in those critical areas of your life where you need to change. And, indeed, become aware of where you need to change.

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2017 Black Friday Deal

Stay confident while I'm away...

Everybody seems to be doing a Black Friday offer these days. So, being a confidence coach, I’ve decided to do a 2017 Black Friday deal for those who are anxious about public speaking.

With that, I hereby offer 20 absolutely FREE

CONFIDENT SPEAKING STRATEGY sessions.

In this powerful session, you’ll get

– Written, concrete goals for the exact kind of public speaker you want to be
– A new awareness of what’s eating at your confidence when speaking in front of crowds (it might surprise you!)
– New energy and motivation to turn your public speaking into success upon succes
– A “next step” action plan for becoming a confident public speaker once and for all

You’ll leave the session refreshed, renewed, and ready to take on those audiences.

Now, these sessions are usually $39. But this being Black Friday weekend, I’m handpicking 20 people* who either write me at my private FB page, at my company FB page, by Messenger, or at mail@getconfidencecoaching.com, and giving them away for free.

PLEASE NOTE: Since this is a Black Friday offer, submissions will not be accepted until Black Friday, specifically at 12:00 A.M. CET, running through Sunday at 8:00 P.M. CET.

Not before that; not after that.

Want in on this totally sweet 2017 Black Friday Deal?

Then make a note to yourself to check in with me by mail or at my FB on Black Friday 12:00 A.M. CET and let me know!

To your confidence,

— Andy


* NOTE: This offer does not apply to anyone who I am currently working with.

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On the danger of chronological thinking

Chronological thinking is a double-edged sword.In my article “On the Danger of Procrastination“, I argue that one of the problems with procrastination is the human chronological thinking. I wanna elaborate on this here, as I think it’s a pretty rich topic that could easily stand on its own. And most of all, it concerns pretty much all of us.

We can’t just ignore our chronological thinking. And much less so in a technologically advanced society based on continuous work in exchange for money.

No matter how detached from materialism and everyday life you claim to be, money is a vital resource for all of us. And since so many people still choose to work for $15-$20 per spent hour monday through friday, we effectively put ourselves in a position where we force ourselves to think ahead. — For the sake of our safety, and, ultimately, perhaps even our very survival.

How many times have you sat at work or in class — maybe even at home — and found yourself looking at the time over and over?

Yeah, I know. You wanted so bad to not be in the here and now that you kinda waited for something else to happen rather than concern yourself with what’s right ahead of you.

Can you guess if that’s a good approach to live by?

Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with planning ahead. In fact, my impression is that way too few people set adequately specific plans for themselves.

The problem is, people seem to invest way too many resources in regretting the past or concerning themselves with the future, rather than accepting the fact that there’s no changing either the past OR the future.

Sure, we can use chronological thinking to learn from our mistakes and plan ahead. But all we can really, actively affect is the here and now. Because the past won’t ever come back, and the future won’t ever come. There’s only always this moment, right here and now.

As you ponder this strange, yet somehow obvious fact, I wanna talk a little about animals

See, on a completely immediate level, we can learn a lot from animals.

Because animals don’t bother themselves with the fact that there’s gonna be a “next year”, or even “tomorrow”. They plan nothing. Because they can’t, and they’d have no need for it even if they could. All there is to animals is right here and now.

… And if you need an example, just look at pretty much any dog being taken for a walk. They’re completely absorbed in the moment; researching their surroundings; not rarely displaying an immediate joy that is nothing short of touching. They’re mindful.

Chronological thinking doesn't concern dogs. We can learn from them that way.
Aaaaawwwwwwww…

What would it take for you to feel just as great whenever you’re going for a walk?

Perhaps not surprisingly, there’s a strong association between living confidently, and living in the here and now. And, on the flip side, non-fident people often concern themselves with the things they can’t change (i.e. the past and future) rather than what they CAN change (the here and now).

Which will it be for you?

ACTION POINT:

1. For just five minutes today, sit down with no distractions whatsoever. No phone, no laptop, no music, no social media. Just you, and whatever device you can measure five minutes on and still block any incoming messages.
2. Focus on your breathing. Feel the sensation of your breath as it continually enters through your nose, fills your lungs all the way down into your stomach, and goes back out.
3. Just be with the sensation of breathing without trying to analyze, change anything or make any judgments or assessments.
4. Whenever you become distracted by any thought, feeling, or sensation (and you will), gently and slowly bring your attention back to your breath.
5. If you think this is stupid and an unnecessary waste of time, do it for at least twice as long.

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Am I selfish…?

Am I selfish? And what if I were, really?Am I selfish for wanting to be happy?
Am I selfish for knowing what my worth is?
Even… Am I selfish for not wanting a baby?

We’ve all heard these questions, and variations thereof. And, maybe not surprisingly, I see a strong connection between these types of questions, and having low confidence and self-esteem.

But very well, then. AM I selfish for, say, spending more time, money and energy on myself than on anyone else?

Well, probably. But people tend to forget this one neat little counterpoint…:
Am I selfish? And what if I were?
The problem with the word ‘selfish’ — and, for that matter, the word ‘egotistical’ — is that it’s gotten a bad rep over time. When someone accuses someone else of being selfish, it’s necessarily implied that that person is being TOO selfish.

But… Too selfish for WHAT, exactly? Measured by exactly whose standards?

People rarely, if ever, elaborate on an accusation of selfishness. As if first and foremost tending to one’s own was a bad thing in and by itself.

But there’s good news: It’s not.

Sure, I might be wrong, but my general impression is, those who try to make others feel guilty about allegedly being ‘selfish’ tend to be the ones who don’t allow themselves to have very many joys in life.

Like I’ve talked about before, there’s nothing inherently wrong with allowing yourself to have cool things and experiences. For all we know, we only live once. So if I were you, I’d see to it that I start living it up instead of just getting by.

Yes, there are millions of innocent people suffering worldwide. And the idea that everyone should do their part in raising the lower bar is kind and beautiful, no doubt.

But is it realistic? Is it easily doable? Is it even specific?

Now don’t get me wrong here. Of course, ideally, everyone SHOULD definitely do whatever they can for those in dire need. And if you do, more power to ya.

But if you spend more time, money and energy on anything but your own goal in life, I’d personally say you were doing it wrong. (Unless, of course, that’s your goal in life.)

And, see, that’s another thing. What you do for yourself isn’t necessarily extravagance and gratuitous first-world luxury. It might even be small investments in becoming the person you genuinely want to be.

But everyone are unique and perfect just the way they are!” Yeah, unless, you know, they’re not. And the day you stop developing, you start withering.

 

Am I selfish for wanting to be like Lemmy?
Unless, of course, you simply reach max level. But really, don’t count on that.

By improving myself, I continually get better at improving the world and the people around me. If I didn’t continually spend time, money and energy educating myself on coaching, what kind of a coach would I be??

But of course, it goes way beyond my work. The reason I’m in the self-development industry in the first place is because I’ve been working with self-development on a personal level for years.

And when someone spends years refining the gentle arts of, say, goal-setting, daily reading, mental focus, physical health, time management, inner peace and calm, and prioritizing the most important daily tasks, do they tend to naturally improve the world around them?

Yeah, I thought so.

Now, you might CALL all of this ‘selfishness’. And you might even THINK that there’s something inherently wrong with improving upon oneself. But there isn’t, really. It’d only be you making a judgment.

The whole idea that you wouldn’t improve upon yourself for fear of what others might think is nothing more than a bad excuse for covering up self-sabotage. Because there ARE only excuses for not allowing oneself to grow into one’s inner ideals, however selfish others might judge them to be.

Let’s evolve!

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On the gentle art of letting go

Letting go can be hard, but ultimately it's all for the better.It can be difficult to talk about simply letting go, because it’s clearly an abstraction. “Letting go of what?”, you might rightly ask. We’re getting to that; don’t worry.

But why would we necessarily benefit from simply letting go of something?? It might even seem counter-intuitive.

And for the most part, it probably is. Because, like with all of our other actions, whatever we hold on to, we hold on to for many a good reason.

But when we let go of something, it’s because we’ve reached a point where that something doesn’t serve us anymore.

Whether it’s a grudge, a relationship, or a bag of old pants that have mysteriously shrunk over the years, we all have these things in our lives that only serve as deadweight and clutter. Be it objects, people, thoughts, emotions, or ideas. You have them, I have them, and even the Dalai Lama probably has some.

 

Even the Dalai Lama probably has some issues letting go.
He still has that scarf. If you even mention throwing it out, he’ll get seriously pissed.

Well okay, but why is it so hard to let go, then?

Because whatever we hold on to, we hold on to because we identify with it.

That old grudge you’re still carrying around? You’re nursing it because you’re trying to protect and honor that part of you that got hurt in the first place.

That unhealthy relationship that you’re in? Well, it’s been good at some point, and you’ve been in it for so long, so throwing it all away would just seem like giving up, right?

And that bag of old pants in the back of your wardrobe? Well, you’ve kinda been meaning to lose some weight anyway… But first and foremost, those were the pants you wore that one really cool summer where all these really cool things happened. So letting go of them would be like defiling those memories!

We all have them. The excuses, the explanations. We’re only human after all.

I mean, shit. If I were to get rid of my album collection, it’d be like having a limb removed.

But sometimes — and more often than we think — letting go is far more beneficial for us than carrying around anything that basically just impedes us.

 

I recommend letting go in every area of your life. But hold on your teddy bears.
Well, okay, but I’m keeping the teddy bears.

The ability of letting go is a huge part of being confident. Because confident people know that letting go of anything doesn’t hurt their core identity.

When you amputate something, you do it for a reason. It’s infested; it has no circulation; it has gangrene… It’ll probably kill you if you don’t. And whatever’s left after the amputation will be far better off, regardless of an initial, perceived loss.

Of course I’m not saying that your spring break t-shirts are literally gonna kill you. But they serve no purpose other than clutter and deadweight.

Let it go. It’s not giving up. On the contrary, you’re only improving your life.

ACTION ITEM:

1. Make a thorough list of any material objects in your home that definitely don’t serve you anymore. Go deep; set aside 30 to 60 minutes.

2. Once you have that list, arrange the items in the order of how much physical space and mental energy each takes up. Put the relatively “biggest” items first.

3. Every week, starting with the current one, throw away one of these items until your list is exhausted. Then, start over.

And yes: Throw away the biggest one first. I know it might be tempting to start from the bottom, but that would just increase the chances of you coming up with even more excuses to hold on to that dossier of old high school essays that you never read anyway.

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What if being yourself is not enough?

If being yourself is not enough to go where you wanna go in life, what do you do about it?It’s funny how the entire world of self-help and self-development continually echoes with ideas of just “being yourself”, and how “you’re perfect the way you are”, and “if they don’t like it, that’s just their problem”. Not only because these ideas seem to downright contradict the entire concept of developing oneself. But what if, genuinely, being yourself is not enough to go where you wanna go in life?

“Be yourself” is probably one of the biggest mantras in this post-modern society of ours. We’re more concerned with personal purpose and self-determination than ever.

And sure, if you ask me, I wouldn’t want it any other way, either. Why would I spend half my waking life slaving in a cubicle for some Armani-wearing dipshit who doesn’t know my name and couldn’t care less if it was me or someone else punching in those numbers, right?

But the problem is, in all our praise of individuality, we forget that our personalities aren’t fixed. In fact, you might even be familiar with psychology professor Carol Dweck’s theories about how having a ‘fixed’ mindset — as opposed to a ‘growth’ mindset — is detrimental to our growth as human beings.

See, unlike other species, we have the ability to intentionally improve ourselves. And in some areas of our lives, it’s crucial that we do it.

Take me, for example. To become a successful entrepreneur, I’ve had to change from someone who slept ’till past 9 A.M.  most mornings, partied at least twice every weekend and just plain dicked around with no direction… To someone who wakes up at 6 P.M. every day, exercises every other day, detoxes for weeks on end and works from morning ’till evening.

Had I kept listening to whoever was parroting “just be yourself”, I would’ve settled.

If you don’t act a little out of character, how will you ever expand your comfort zone? If you’re shy and introvert, but you genuinely wanna be able to confidently interact with other people, are you gonna settle for simply “being yourself”?

I hope not.

No matter how this sounds, we need to acknowledge that in by far most cases, being yourself is not enough if we need to evolve ourselves to reach our goals.

(And really, name me one worthwhile goal for which one would not need to evolve oneself just a little.)

And yes, of course we should all feel confident and love ourselves. But I’m sure every insensitive, narcissistic megalomaniac out there feels confident and loves themselves, too. And in case of one such person, I’m sure the rest of us can agree that simply being yourself is not enough if you want the rest of the world to remember you positively.

(Picture is totally unrelated.)

And here’s another thing:

People change.

Not necessarily by intention. Not necessarily even by themselves. But over time, things tend to change. We grow up. We get tired of certain things, and we start feeling like trying other things. New people enter our lives; others leave. Some by simply dying; others by growing apart from us. Oh, and our bodies change.

Indeed, everything changes. And this affects us. What we want today might not be what we want tomorrow. And that’s okay.

Essentially, “being yourself” is an illusion. It is estimated that 40-60% of our personalities can be ascribed to biology. This means, a hugely significant portion of who we are is not only subject to change, but also within our means of changing.

In the words of best-selling author and professor of management and psychology Adam Grant, “unless you’re Oprah, ‘be yourself’ is terrible advice”.

Let’s evolve!

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Facing your fears: Here’s why you need to do it

Facing your fears is also about doing what's necessary, no matter what.Facing your fears can be hard, and you all probably know it.

In fact, show me someone who claims to have fear of nothing, and I’ll show you defence mechanisms at work.

But does our fear serve us?

Most of you could probably be tempted to say conclusively no, knowing perfectly well how this is about confidence, empowerment, and, obviously, facing your fears. But here’s where it gets a bit tricky.

As H.P. Lovecraft said, fear is the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.

And when it came to fear, he was spot-on.

Fear is what’s kept us and our primal ancestors from getting into potentially harmful or fatal situations. The logic of biology is to sustain life. Therefore, we have a built-in alarm, widely known as the amygdala. So the amygdala is, essentially, what’s kept mankind alive for millions of years.

The problem is that for only a matter of a few millennia, we’ve advanced exponentially, and just totally out-civilized the conditions of our aforementioned primal ancestors. We no longer live in small hunter-gatherer tribes out in the wilderness. There are no rivaling tribes or hungry predators.

But our physical — and, hence, neural — advancement hasn’t kept up to speed! And basically, this is why we get anxious about certain things. Things of which we can’t fully embrace the implications, or, indeed, towards which we just feel an instinctive, knee-jerk apprehension, repulsion, or concern.

Our amygdala perfectly shuns what might progress us, and it only likes what feels safe and secure. For example, twiddling around on Facebook instead of studying. Playing Minesweeper instead of doing that report. We’ve all been there, gotten the t-shirt, etc., right?

Facing your fears isn’t just about roaring with derisive laughter as you gaze audaciously into Death’s horridly cancer-pale eyes. It’s about feeling secure — to an extent where you’re absolutely convinced that you’re gonna be fine.

Really, it’s about feeling confident.

Yes, we might step out in front of a drunk driver this weekend. Or the company we work for might go tits-up. It’s that kind of planet. Birth doesn’t come with a safety guarantee!

… But if we give our energy to the ridiculously minuscule odds of anything like those things happening every day, what kind of life are we gonna get?

But wait a minute! Doesn’t that mean that you don’t need to be facing your fears at all?? LOL!

Well, like I’ve said before, we “shouldn’t” do anything. We don’t “have” to do anything. But…

If you wanna live a confident life, you need to be facing your fears.

This means, if you want that job, you gotta prepare for that interview. And you gotta go into that interview head high, beaming ear-to-ear, because you’re gonna be set on owning that interview.

It means, if you want that six-pack, you gotta hit that gym and work up that sweat, several times a week. You gotta eat that broccoli (stop whining; it tastes great, and it’s healthy), and you gotta stop eating all that chocolate and pizza.

It also means, if you wanna live your dreams, you gotta be honest with yourself; find out exactly what they are; set aside the necessary amount of hours; cut down on whatever’s taking up your time and energy; and you gotta make a commitment to yourself to never quit, no matter what.

But those aren’t fears LOL!

On the surface level, it might not seem like it. But what lies beneath each of these examples is a deep-rooted fear of more tasks, responsibilities and esteem from other people — and maybe even from oneself. It’s all based in what I call non-fidence, and non-fidence is a product of fear.

Non-fidence, of course, is the antithesis of confidence. And confidence is the antithesis of fear.

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Why am I doing what I’m doing?

Why am I doing what I'm doing? this one quesion might change your entire life.Yeah, ever stop and ask yourself that question? ‘Why am I doing what I’m doing?’. Has kind of an uncanny ring to it, right?

If you haven’t, now’s the chance.

And by the way, I don’t blame you if you haven’t. It’s huge.

See, I’m not talking about those awkward situations where you find yourself pulling away on a doorknob on which it clearly says ‘PUSH’. I’m talking about the purpose behind each and every one of your actions.

So, what’s the purpose behind your actions?

Do you HAVE a purpose?

If no, why not?

Asking oneself these questions eventually leads towards that ‘Why am I doing what I’m doing?’.

And I’ll say it again: I’m not here to blame or judge you if you aren’t aware of any such purpose yet. Hell, it took me more than one entire third of a century to get mine figured out.

However, once I did, the path before me shone up like something that can really shine up.

Now, if you do this right, you might find, like I did, that you’re headed down an entirely wrong direction. This might instil an existential fear and anxiety in some, but it’s actually a good thing. Because now you’ll be certain of what NOT to do.

Yes, there will be a period of transition, and yes, it’s gonna be hard. But it’ll also be necessary to get where you want to go.

Like Confucius said, “No matter where you go, there you are”. But wherever we happen to be doesn’t have to dictate where we go next.

However, to know where we wanna go, this is where the aforementioned purpose is crucial. And to know our purpose, we need to be aware of our values.

I invite you to do the following exercise:

1. Write an exhaustive list of all of the major turning points in your life. Those powerful moments which really turned you and your life around for good.

It might be sudden insights, ‘eureka’-moments, an unforeseen question, reading an article, a new friendship, the death of a loved one, etc.. They should all feel more or less like the proverbial ‘point of no return’.

You might not have very many, and that’s all good. But try to go deep here.

2. Once you’ve identified these points, going back in time as far as it still makes sense to you, analyse them one by one. For each of these turning points, ask yourself exactly what it did to you. Did it challenge something in you? Did it reinforce something? Maybe a little bit of both? What was challenged, and what was reinforced? And what changed after that?

3. By now, you should see a clear pattern of single, positively connotated words that occur almost all the way through. These are highly likely to be your values. — Especially the ones that have been reinforced in positive situations, or in hard circumstances that you still handled successfully.

Whenever you’re aware of your values, the initial ‘Why am I doing what I’m doing?‘ suddenly has another ring to it, doesn’t it?

If we want to live the life we deep down know that we deserve, our actions need to be aligned with our values. And if you’re working a menial job behind a desk in an anonymous cubicle in a soul-crushing corporation, chances are that you’re probably not living our your values.

So, why am I doing what I’M doing, you ask? Because it aligns with my personal values, which are independence, confidence, self-esteem, energy, strength, courage, and freedom.

What are yours?

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On the danger of procrastination

Often, we only learn the true dangers of procrastination when it's too late.Okay. So, when I say there’s a downright danger of procrastination, some people might immediately call hyperbole.

And that is part of the danger itself.

Let’s face it: We all procrastinate to a certain extent. Even that one annoyingly productive over-achiever in your class or on your office.

Hell, even highly successful people procrastinate. However, that doesn’t make it right, and we all know it.

When we procrastinate, there’s often a certain element of justification in that we, however half-assedly, tell ourselves that we have enough time. And therefore, we’ll do something ‘later’. Or even ‘tomorrow’.

Another part of the danger of procrastination, however, is that, as they say, tomorrow never comes.

There is only the here and the now. That’s it.

But wait a minute! I’ve had a new day come every single day of my life!

… And that’s yet ANOTHER part of the problem.

We humans have the ability to think in abstract terms, also when it comes to chronology. Even though all we experience is right here and now, our highly evolved memory and logic along with our knowledge of the human lifespan (and even of history) allows us to not only think but plan ahead.

Not only in terms of hours and days, but months, years, and, for some, maybe even full decades.

We KNOW perfectly well that the Earth is gonna continue to revolve around the sun. And of course we HAVE to plan ahead because we can’t DO all of our tasks and undertakings right here and now.

And here’s where it really becomes a lose/lose-situation for us…

Even though we’re aware of the danger of procrastination, we might do it anyway. Because procrastination pays off instantly.

The danger of procrastination is treacherous, because unlike procrastination itself, its harmful effect is anything but immediate. The danger of procrastination lies in the risk of finding out much too late exactly how fatally procrastination harms our dreams and wishes for the future.

Okay, so how do we avoid this??

Well, if we wanna be able to overcome procrastination, we need to be better at prioritizing.

Or, indeed, DOWN-prioritizing.

See, the good news is, we should forget about multitasking and only work on that ONE proverbial thing at a time. Because multitasking, as it turns out, does more harm than good.

So, we get to do one thing at a time. This means, we need to figure out what’s most important. It also means, we get to do this one thing in designated blocks of time.

… And then, in the gaps between, we can schedule a little time for the things we would have done procrastinating.

How ‘bout that??

See, it’s not necessarily the things you do when procrastinating that are dangerous in themselves. It’s the very HABIT of procrastination that’s dangerous.

And what’s even better is, the more we get used to only working on one thing at a time, the more we hone our focus, — which is not only good for a lot of things, but detrimental towards procrastination.

The danger of procrastination can be mitigated, and even prevented. But, as with everything else that’s rewarding in the long-term, it takes focus, and effort. And you’re not gonna get there by procrastinating.

ACTION POINT:

1. Make a list of all your to-do’s for the next week.
2. Next, make a new list where you sort the items in order of urgency, relevance and payoff. The most urgent, relevant and/or potentially rewarding goes higher than the rest.
3. When done, you should, ideally have a fully prioritized to-do list for the next week. The top item is what you should primarily focus your energy and attention on.
4. Remember: You might not need to get them all done by the end of the week. The point here is simply to get familiar with prioritizing.

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