Why do I continually put off doing something that is clearly in my best interest? Why couldn’t I spend 20 more minutes on a paper to correct all the grammar? Why did I have to stop and get something to eat, watch the Piston’s basketball game, watch a movie, and then go right to bed? Why didn’t I call her back? Speak up at the meeting?
Because it was easier to do absolutely nothing! The decision I chose in these situations was the path of least resistance. Whatever causes me the least immediate stress, I chose.
However when I am mindful of the specific thoughts that excuse doing nothing, I am much more likely to get something, rather than nothing done. Below are the most common excuses I use for not doing a damn thing:
- “I’ll just wake up early tomorrow.” I always hate myself after I buy into this thought pattern. It would be a Sunday night. My paper is due at 9:00am, and I decide to watch a repeat episode of Family Guy or something else pointless. Then once Family Guy is over, I rationalize that I will go to sleep, wake up at 5:00am and then finish the paper. In reality I wake up at 7:00am, write a very rough draft by 7:30am, take a nap on the palm of my hand, wake up at 8:30am, panic, do a quick edit and email the paper to my professor at 8:45am.
- “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” I don’t have this exact thought, but in so many words, I tend to live by this. I don’t quit my job, apply for another one, ask for a raise, monetize my blog or anything risky like that because once I do, I am judged on a different scale. If I apply for 50 jobs and I don’t get one of them, then I am exactly where I deserve to be; however if I don’t apply for other jobs or try an alternative route to making money, then I am an underachiever with a lot of “potential”. The later sounds pathetically hopeful. The former just sounds scary.
- “Heavy lies the crown”. Fear of success is another way of saying this, but I hate that saying. Honestly, I may be afflicted with this phobia. If I succeed, what the expletive will I do with that success? I will have to live up to my success, rather than be impressive to others with mediocre work. High expectations are scary, and I don’t like scary things!
- “I don’t think I can make it through all that.” ‘All that’ could be the pain and agony of taking one hour to write an article, or “all that” could be calling a potential employer about a job. It really isn’t something that will kill me, but at some level I allow myself to be convinced of this irrational possibility. Like I will call the office about a job opening, and the secretary will say, “I’m sorry but I hate you and so does the world, so could you please drop dead?” Then I drop dead.
These four excuses occur in my head in some shape or form every single day of my life, and I have found that the more consciously aware I am of these excuses, the more likely I am to override their hold of me and take action.
In order to bring your excuses to your conscious, I have found daily meditation to be extremely helpful. I take two minutes every morning to sit on my turtle pillow and breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. As I breath out, I watch the words of my mind float around in my mind, and then out and away from me.
“It’s boring, but it’s my life.” – Ron Burgundy
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