Thursday, February 26, 2009

Refuse to Be Afraid of life

I mentioned not long ago how I was brought up short by Dan Miller's description of procrastination as an expression of fear. It's an interesting and, near as I can tell, spot-on observation. The question becomes: What are procrastinators afraid of?

A dear friend of mine went into the hospital 20-odd years ago for open heart surgery. It was a risky proposition at the time, and she made all the necessary preparations just in case: Funeral arrangements, a will, arrangements for her pets to be adopted by friends.

Then she survived the surgery with flying colors. I remember seeing a confused expression in her eyes as her friends surrounded her hospital bed with cheer.

The reason for the confusion became apparent as years went by and her life spiraled downward, or rather, she drifted without direction. She had tied her life up in a tidy ball and prepared to die, you see. She had given no thought and made no preparations to live.

I think procrastination might be a fear of living. You have made no plan and considered no purpose, as my friend did, or else you have the plan and you're afraid to execute it. Fear of failure? That seems logical — no one wants to pursue a dream and lose everything tangible. I think fear of success is a real thing, too — look how miserable are so many people who have achieved the image of success. For one thing, they've lost their privacy: That's how we can see how miserable they are.

If you're procrastinating, resolve today to take one step towards the dream. Just one will do; for me it was taking an extra 15 minutes to write this before pushing myself away from the keyboard. Breaking the chains of procrastination fear is as simple and as complicated as overcoming inertia, which is accomplished merely by a sufficient push: Just get started.



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