Procrastination: The Creative Person’s Antagonist
We are all creative beings, whether or not we consider ourselves to be artistic. Each of us holds within ourselves infinite creative potential to create, shape, and define our lives as well as our environment and the world in which we live. Yet too often in this day of digital diversion our best creative efforts become thwarted or hindered by the creative person’s antagonist: procrastination.
If we’re all some kind of magical creator who has the potential to create anything we desire, then why do we see so many people proclaim their defeat to procrastination? Why would we, as conscious creators, create more of what we DON’T want in the world?
There are many reasons.
Actually, wait. I take that back.
Ultimately, there’s only one reason:
And yet, within you, there may seem to exist many reasons.
We are complex beings, after all. Shouldn’t our reasons for not doing something or not having what we want be equally as complex? Are the workings behind procrastination simple or complex?
You decide. You’re the creator.
Either way you look at it, it’s important to realize that you create your reality. Whether you like it (or even realize it) or not, you are constantly and incessantly creating your reality. You create your environment, surroundings, emotions, dreams, desires, and so forth by your actions as well as your inaction. You are a creative being, and your inherent nature is to create. As beings that exist in time and space, we are constantly shaping and defining our present reality.
If your reality happens to consist of a polluted environment, a messy house, feelings of depression, and a lack or ambition or desire, then you need to fess up and take responsibility for what you created.
Conversely, if your reality consists of a clean and green planet, an immaculate house, feelings or joy, love, gratitude and abundance, and a heart full of passion, ambition and desire, then congratulations! As long as you’re happy with all of that, give yourself a pat on the back for having created the life you desire.
I feel compelled to point out that I’m writing this blog post for myself just as much as I am for you. I need to know and remind myself of this, too. I’m a creative being, and as a creative being I realize that sometimes I use my creative power against myself. Sometimes I end up creating more of what I don’t want instead of what I do want.
Procrastination is actually a form of creation. You decided to procrastinate, and therefore you created it and you brought it into existence.
Why did you do that? That seems silly, doesn’t it?
More importantly, what can you do to stop it?
It’s my desire that this article will help motivate us to Kick Procrastination in the Ass by helping us to change the mindset and attitude that so often gives rise to procrastination.
Procrastination is a Form of Creation
Procrastination is simply defined as putting off tasks or actions to a later time. Therefore, when we procrastinate, we ultimately make (i.e. create) the decision to put something off to be completed or addressed at some point in the future. By default this means that, by procrastinating, we continue to create and maintain some aspect of our present — the status quo — until we create something that is not the status quo.
Procrastination is a form of creation — albeit a typically undesired form of creation — whereby we propagate the status quo (or at least some part of the status quo) in such a way that we end up creating more of what we don’t want. This is assuming that the status quo represents for you or contains within it some aspect you no longer want to keep around in your present-day reality.
Think of it like this. You are in a car, behind the wheel, and everything you can observe outside your window represents the reality you create. Let’s say you and your car are located on one side of town that is generally considered to be a bad neighborhood, and you no longer wish to be there.
You have a car at your disposal (i.e. your body and mind) which easily enables you to simply drive out of and away from that undesirable neighborhood. You look out your window at the neighborhood surrounding you and think, “Ugh. I hate this neighborhood. Why would anyone want to live here? It’s boring, dull, and the houses are falling apart. Blech.”
After thinking such thoughts, suddenly you find you lack the energy to start the car. Even turning the key and starting the ignition sounds like a chore, never mind actually expending the energy to put the car from park into drive and then pressing on the accelerator. Your journey has come to a halt before you’ve even had a chance to get started.
To distract yourself from the fact that you live in such a crappy neighborhood, you may decide to procrastinate by doing something you think might lift your mood and attitude so that you’ll actually feel energized to drive away instead of feeling drained and doing nothing. Say you play lots of Farmville, or spend lots of time connecting with friends on Facebook, or watch funny and mood-lifting videos on YouTube.
And while all that seemed fun, if you look out your car window you’re soon drawn back to the reality of your situation — you’re still in the crappy neighborhood, right where you started.
Instead of simply getting behind the wheel and pushing the pedal to the metal, you look down and realize you’re still in park. When you were diverting yourself, you thought you must have at least had your foot pressed down on the accelerator, but even if you were, doing that while simultaneously in park-mode or while simultaneously pressing on the brake won’t get you anywhere. As you look out the window, you see more of the same, and become disheartened.
You’re creating more of the same, actively perpetuating the status quo.
When you realize you just wasted a bunch of time going nowhere, you aren’t suddenly energized to actually drive away. More often than not, the opposite happens. You feel even more drained than before. So you think, “Maybe I just need to go to Starbucks for a pick-me-up and I’ll be fine.”
Alright. Let’s see if that works.
You drive to Starbucks, which is just around the corner, and go through their drive-thru. You get your pseudo-fuel in a pristine white-and-green Starbucks cup. Motivation in liquid form. Ahh. Tasty. Alright, now you’re ready to go. Right? … Right? Well…
When you make the decision and take actions to procrastinate in some form or another, it might seem like you’re taking actions that will get you closer to completing your goal because they seem to be taking you away from your present reality. But alas, that is simply not so. When you take your focus away from your activity of procrastination and instead return your focus to look through your car window, you will find you are still in the same neighborhood, and still where you don’t want to be.
I’ll acknowledge that there are in fact energizing and uplifting ways to procrastinate that may indeed get you closer to your goal, but more often than not, the methods in which we procrastinate will simply result in the continued creation of the same thing or things we wish to get away from.
So, what is keeping you so stuck? How can you break that pattern and cycle of procrastination? How can you shift from park to drive, and just speed on ahead? What do we do next? When do we get to the ass-kicking part? 😉
Resistance is Futile
If you revisit the above analogy, you’ll noticed that you had very negative thoughts and attitudes in regards to your present-reality. You only had bad things to say about your ‘crappy’ neighborhood.
But isn’t being dissatisfied with your status quo a great way to motivate you to make changes to your life? That would seem to make sense… However, based on my own experience, I’d have to say that being resistant to your present-reality actually works against you, not for you.
If your mind is overflowing with thoughts of resistance to your reality and surroundings, then your mind will go ahead and apply that same resistant thought pattern toward your efforts to change your reality, too.
It’s like pressing down on the brake while trying to accelerate away — Although your intentions might seem to be in the right place, you are encountering resistance, and you are the one applying the resistance. Your thoughts and intentions are not aligned with each other, and in fact are in opposition to each other. Your thoughts and intentions and their combined frequencies are canceling each other out. Your amplitude is zero, you are traveling at 0 miles per hour, and you aren’t going anywhere.
What you want instead is an increase in your total amplitude, and in order to get that, the frequency of your thoughts and the frequency of your goals/desires/intentions need to be in tune with each other.
The thoughts and attitude (i.e. mindset) you have in regards to what you see when you look out the car window — your present-reality and surroundings — are essentially going to act as your fuel to move forward. True, negativity can at times fuel you forward to implement changes to your surroundings. But in most cases, negativity will simply suck you in and keep you stuck as it saps your will to actively create your surroundings.
Ultimately, what we want to do is fill our head with positive thoughts, attitudes and mindsets in regards to our present-reality, even (and especially) if we want to disconnect from the status quo to create a new and different reality.
An Ass-Kicking Exercise
In order to clarify and exemplify what we need to do, here’s an exercise I made up. It’ll help us kick procrastination in the ass. 🙂
Instead of putting off doing the exercise, make yourself do it now. It’s a step in the direction of changing your status quo and creating the reality you want. You deserve to have your dreams come true, so do yourself a favor and just do it. 😉
You’ll want to have some paper and a pen handy. Using Notepad or some similar application on your computer may work as well, but I’d personally recommend using physical paper and a pen, because holding the pen in your hand seems more real than simply typing digital letters on a screen.
First, take a moment to look at your life. Look around you and examine your current situation. It’s like you’re in the car, looking out the window, making observations about your surroundings.
Realize that all of this — this is what you created.
Please note, if you are unhappy with your current situation and circumstances, please refrain from being too harsh or judgmental on yourself. So when you take a look at the life you created for yourself, try to do so with loving kindness and a sense of detachment from judgment. Simply observe what is. For now, try to resist the urge to attach emotion to your outer life and situation.
As you tune outward and observe that which surrounds you, you may begin to realize there are two aspects to your life and reality: your outer life and your inner life. When I refer to your outer life, I’m referring to what you can see, taste, touch, smell, hear, or measure in some quantifiable manner. Your outer life is essentially your life as viewed from an objective perspective or your objective reality. When I refer to your inner life, I’m referring to how you interpret your life via your emotions, feelings, memories, desires, and so forth. Your outer life is, in essence, your subjective perspective or your subjective reality.
Next, take your paper and pen (or computer) and write down your list of observations as pertaining to your outer life, i.e. some aspect of your life that is perceivable or measurable by the senses. For example, you might write a list that looks something like this:
My Outer Life Reality
– I live at 535 Home Street
– My home is in good condition, but needs some paint
– I weigh 125 lbs.
– My employer is Starbucks
– I make $10/hr.
– I have $3009.22 in my bank account
– I owe $5651.28 in credit card debt
– I have brown hair
– I am single
– My bedroom is unorganized
– I have dirty laundry on the floor
– The sun is shining outside
Take as much or as little time as you like, but I would imagine that spending more time and being as accurate as possible when listing your current circumstances would likely be in your best interest. If, however, you are pressed for time, then focus on a particular aspect or two of your life that you presently feel “stuck” in or an area of your life where you would like to create change, such as your finances and your job/career, recording your outer-life observations.
After tuning outward, it’s time to tune inward.
Read over each item listed in your outer life and tune in to the corresponding inner life, thoughts and feelings that each item stirs within. Take note of how you feel about each item on the list, or your predominant thoughts in regards to each item, and write these down. Be honest with yourself, and write down whatever comes to mind. Keeping with the above example, your inner life list might look something like this:
My Inner Life Reality
– Although I like where I live, I wish I lived in a different neighborhood.
– My home is decent, but it’s not my dream home. I don’t like the size of my house. I want a bigger house.
– I feel okay about my weight, but I feel flabby. I don’t want to feel flabby. I want a hawt bod!
– Working at Starbucks sucks! At least the free beverages are okay.
– Making $10/ hr sucks! Gah! How am I ever suppose to get ahead?
– At least I have some money in my bank account. I wish it were more though.
– Owing money sucks! 🙁
– I like my brown hair… but I’ve always wondered what it might like to be a blond.
– Being single sucks! All my friends are in relationships. What’s doesn’t anyone want to date me?
– My bedroom and kitchen are a disaster, and I hate living in this mess, but the idea of organizing it makes me anxious and I feel overwhelmed.
– I guess it’s time I did some laundry. Blah. I feel lazy.
– It’s so hot outside, it makes me feel lazy.
As Within, So Without
Does your Outer Life list look something like the example above? I hope not, but I know from time to time thoughts like these inevitably float through our heads.
Then again, is it really inevitable? You create your reality, and your thoughts are part of your reality. You can evade these thoughts, and I’d suggest it’s in your best interest to do so.
This negative way of thinking, mindset, and attitude, will typically serve to create more of what you don’t want. By focusing on the negative, you will more than likely foster a mental environment (i.e. a mindset, or inner life) that yields the continued creation of the status quo; your thoughts will disempower you. Instead of creating the life you want, you’ll end up creating the life don’t want. You’ll procrastinate on taking the actions needed to change and mold your desired future into the reality of the present.
Now, I’m not suggesting you simply deny the reality of your present-day situation and try to convince yourself that you love your job when in fact you don’t, or that you live in a mansion when it’s obvious you don’t. That would be delusional. But there’s definitely a way to evade, or avoid, thoughts and attitudes that bring you down and disempower your creative nature.
Yeah but… How and when do I get to kick procrastination in the ass? Kicking ass sounds like fun! 😀
Okay, okay. Here comes the first step to the ass-picking part. Ready? 😉
The Ass-Kicking Part
The first step in overcoming procrastination and kicking it in the ass is actually really easy.
Take a look at what you wrote down for your list of Inner Life Reality perceptions and feelings. Do any of those feelings sound like the feelings listed above? If the answer is yes, then let’s change that, shall we?
For each item on your Inner Life list that sounds negative and disempowering, cross it out, and replace it with an empowering statement. But again, the Inner Life statement needs to be believable to you and your present reality.
For example, don’t cross out “Working at Starbucks sucks” and replace it with “I work with Donald Trump and it’s Awesome”, because obviously that’s just not true — You don’t work with Donald Trump, and therefore you’re not actually going to believe it. Replacing it without something like, “I love my job” also isn’t going to work. There’s no use trying to convince yourself of something that isn’t true.
If you try to convince yourself that you love your job when in actuality you think it sucks, you’ll instead create a mindset that will be fertile ground for those pesky procrastination plants to take root. It may even serve to make you more resistant to your current reality, underscoring the fact that your current situation is nowhere near the ideal dream life you wish to create.
What you can do is replace your disempowering perception, feelings, and Inner Life with some positive and empowering feeling that you know and realize to be true. This might be something like, “I enjoy being helpful to others. Working at Starbucks allows me to do that, and this makes me happy and grateful that I am able to do something I enjoy.” Another good example could be, “I am presently taking the steps necessary to quit my job at Starbucks and to instead create my own work as a writer of Science Fiction, and this makes me feel excited and passionate.”
Instead of thinking about how you live in a crappy, ugly neighborhood, you might instead shift your thoughts towards a sense of gratitude for all the positive experiences you’ve had while living there. Or maybe you might appreciate the buildings in that neighborhood that are falling apart, because they present themselves as exciting opportunities to be renovated, fixed up, and made anew.
This way of thinking isn’t meant to make you complacent and satisfied, happily accepting your plot in life with no chance of moving up in the world. It isn’t meant to drain you from ambition and to create change within your reality. In fact, just the opposite is true.
When you are experiencing thoughts of joy, happiness, excitement, prosperity, passion, gratitude, and so forth, you are fertilizing the soil of the present to plant and sprout the seeds of your creative desires.
If you feel awesome about your present situation and circumstances, you’ll be way less likely to procrastinate, because you’ll be in a fertile creative state of mind.
There is No Spoon Brake
When you have thoughts resistant to your current state of reality, you will tend to procrastinate, which again is trying to push on the brake pedal and gas pedal at the same time. You’re not going to get anywhere, and you’ll waste tons of fuel and energy going nowhere and maintaining the status quo.
Don’t use your own power against yourself. Instead, create a positive mindset aligned with your current reality. It’s like removing the brake from your car altogether — now you can only move forward, actively creating the life you desire.
You create your thoughts, and your thoughts will set you up for failure (i.e. procrastination — propagating more of what you don’t want) or success (i.e. what you want and desire). When it comes to your Inner Life, you always have choice. Choose to create positive, affirming and empowering thoughts, and you will inevitably create success.
The more you focus your Inner Life Reality on positive and empowering thoughts as they pertain to your Outer Life Reality, you will soon begin to realize that procrastination is no longer an issue — You’ll have no reason to continue to procrastinate, as your thoughts and Inner Life will no longer be in resistance and out of alignment with your Outer Life. Both will be aligned and congruent, paving the way for growth and resistless, easy change to create the reality you desire while simultaneously obliterating the stifling status quo to the realm of the past! Cool, huh?
Congratulations. You are now well on your way to Kicking Procrastination in the Ass! Yay! 🙂
This is just the tip of the iceberg, since this approach to overcoming procrastination can be applied in numerous ways. As such, I may start a “Kicking Procrastination in the Ass” series of posts to further explore the different (yet similar) ways of applying this anti-procrastination approach. But in the mean time…
…Go out there and Kick Some Ass! 😀
Procrastination is a type of creation that produces more of the same ole same ole because of resistance to it. Release the resistance, and procrastination is replaced by inspiration.
Now, where is my pen & pa… Oh hey, look! Someone sent me a barrel on Farmville! (j/k <3)
Btw, especially like how you've combined both objective & subjective perspectives on the subject 🙂
the car visual is very helpful…I think I understand the urge to procrastinate much better…and understanding is half the battle.
Great work Rachel. A well thought out and very useful approach to first changing your perception of reality and then changing your reality itself.
Yes! Time to kick procrastination in the ass on a consistent ass-kicking basis!
Just read this after putting it off – yeah I needed it! I did the activities as I read them, and it’s really changed my thinking. I’m about to go and sort my home study out. Thanks for some great tips Rachelle 🙂