This took 31 years to write. I only procrastinated on it for 45 days and 10 hours.
What is it that leads us to wander from our goals? Why do we delay so much? We are always walking the path best suited for us, but sometimes we believe that some of that walking is painful. Procrastination can be like that. Many of us have goals and dreams. Yet, they do not flourish with the intensity that we hope for because of our perspective.
Often, we know what we want to do. We choose instead to do something else because we over think our goals, by trying to be perfect or smart. There is a way to see even the delays as valuable points on our path.
You know the feeling when you have an “important” thing to do. You put it off day after day until you have an urgent AND important thing to do. While there is a multitude of reasons, the reasons we do this are quite simple.
We Are Trying Too Hard to Be Perfect
– What could we learn if we never did anything wrong?
– How would you ever get better at anything if you had no areas you could improve in?
Lao Tzu once said in his Tao Te Ching:
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
Drink that in nice and slow, swish it around in your mouth for a moment.
Procrastination is often the result of anticipating the work ahead. The anticipation that is the result of past experiences. Stress arising because we have chosen to look at the past as our example of the future. When you are only in the present moment, it is clear what you are doing, and no blockage can exist. How can you suffer from perfectionism when there is no idea of what perfect is? Is it worse to feel the pain of resistance and non-experience or to welcome failure as a beloved teacher? There are too many aspects that we try to predict and control. There are too many circumstances enumerable to expect ourselves to account for.
Valuing Our Expertise Over Our Creativity
The beginner or better termed the child’s mind does not stress itself over concepts of failure. When my child draws she is happy, she is content, she draws because she enjoys the act of drawing. When she tells a story it is beautiful, and she knows it, because of this it is beautiful. In Zen the beginner’s mind (Shoshin) always trumps the expert’s mind. There are more options available to the beginner. The expert attempts to zero in on an exact result which is only limiting. When people say – to just do it, they are suggesting that you not over think what you are doing.
Allow yourself to fail or succeed and be not concerned with either result. Enjoy the doing without the desire to be self-critical.
When you are doing only what you set out to do, you can enjoy the moment and allow yourself to immerse in the work.
Not Seeing The Trees for the Forest
Details, details, details. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
When you stare at the effort of a large project, it can feel immense. We overestimate the feat in our heads. We try to project or perfect. When this is habitual, it creates a habitual reaction.
Minimizing a goal makes it reasonable and achievable. I have been reading a book for almost 3 years now. Recently, I decided to take this book and dissect each chapter into 20 or so short goals of 6 pages. Now, I am excited to read. I am not trying to read all 700 pages at once. Instead, I am only reading 6. In this example, nothing has changed, just my thought’s about the work. Once you get started, it is easy. Smaller goals lead to more modest expectations.
There is no shortage of material you can find to overwhelm yourself in any given subject of work. In the end, approaching things in the present, not the past or the future; is the key to immersive fluid creation.
Be Detached From Your Result
There is no need for perfection, idleness has caused more loss than failure ever has. If we do not ruminate on our discomfort and choose to remain in the present, we act without hesitation. If we are this way, we can become immersed. The mind loves to fight back. You may have to watch yourself, like for the rest of your life.
When we are like a child without acting without attachment. Letting it go. Being immersed in our work. There is a flow that we can fall into. This flow is available to us when we stop trying so hard to be something other than present.
Be gentle with yourself, be gentle with others. While we may act like children sometimes, we often do so without the wisdom of a child.
If you know someone who is feeling stuck and they can enjoy these thoughts, please share. Sharing is caring.