The Surprising Reason Fueling Your Procrastination (and How To Master The Art of Decision Making)

Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!

Every day they come in like a flood.

They come in all forms, shapes and sizes from the seemingly inconsequential to life-altering.

“What am I going to eat?, Who am I going to marry?, What will I study?, Should I still be friends with X, Y, Z?”

In fact, you begin the exercise of decision-making from the moment you wake up even if you are unconsciously aware of it. Most of us are like animals trapped by headlights. The decision making process can be that frightening.

You mull over issues for extended periods of time and at worst you bury them far away and hope that they will disappear so that you don’t have to take responsibility. You avoid for as long as possible the act of digging dip and making a choice.

Whilst you are busy pondering, avoiding and planning; life doesn’t stop and the issues you are avoiding tend to escalate to a point that they become unmanageable. In the process you lose time.  A priceless commodity.

This is why the bible always presses us to act and to redeem the time.

Ephesians 5:16 (AMP)

16 [a]making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil.

If you want to see your dreams manifested you have to enter the field of play. You’re to be active participants in life rather than subjects of the whims of circumstance and other people.

Most of us would be in a better position if only we would make the decisions that you need to make.

We know that instead of pondering over issues we need to act and making a decision will leave us in better circumstances in terms of our relationships, finances and careers.

So, what’s the problem?

Why do we struggle to make decisions and when we do make decisions our choices are based on avoidance rather than resolution?

You have been at that place where you put of a decision for weeks or even months and when you finally act you act, it’s against your gut instinct because the final decision you make is easier and does not cost you anything or at least that is what you reason in your heart and mind?

I have been there on numerous occasions.

What’s going on? Why the self-sabotage?

The real reason isn’t because you are lazy but it’s because you are benefiting from your procrastination.

Procrastination protects you from the big F word.

That’s right you are using procrastination as a shield against fear.

The Fears Keeping You Bound and Why You Should Not Be Afraid

The Fear of Failure

It’s funny that we don’t follow our gut instincts because we are afraid of failing yet by not following our intuition we are essentially walking the path towards failure.

From an early age we are taught to fear failure such that when we have to make decisions we delay for as long as possible and sometimes we end up not making them. This is a mindset that stops people from starting businesses or pursuing relationships because it’s safer to imagine than to do.

This is the paradox that we deal with from childhood. We learn most things by trial and error but as we grow older we are brainwashed into abhorring this process.

We master walking, talking and other basics after failing many times.  Why would mastering life be any different? But this process is stripped away from us by education. We are told there’s only one path. Even if that path writes off the vast majority as undesirable.

We stay on the path because are controlled by thoughts of shame, distress and ridicule that we will feel when we fail.

These thoughts compellingly persuade us to stay in our comfort zones. We don’t try after we fail the first time because we are taught that mastery has to happen the first time. It’s not a process but an event

The Fear of Rejection

We fear that society will ostracize us for wanting to stand out in the crowd. We think that our family will label us as evil and turn against us. It’s a possibility but the truth is you cannot please everyone.

Decisions about your life don’t have to make everyone happy they have to make you reach your potential as a human being.

Most of us have settled for less to please other people, so that we can fulfill their image of us. The little identity boxes we force each other into so that we are comfortable. Despite the fact that we are complex and we are capable of doing many things we are comfortable with being identified as an accountant, as a journalist, as a lawyer or any other professions.

We fear that if we do not act according to what they want they will withhold their love from us.

So if we do not try anything so that we get to be considered part of the group.

We bury the essential parts of ourselves because we do not want to suffer the pain and emotional distress that comes with rejection.

But that is a quick-fire strategy for living in bitterness and anger. And the person you are trying to please will continue to despise you in spite of your attempts to please them.

There are two principles that you must use in order to become more assertive and a better decision maker. it will serve you well in your business and professional pursuits.

These two principles will provide you with clarity and give you an impetus to act in spite of your fears.

You shall have what you say (say aloud, in your heart or thoughts)

This is the principle of focus, that is, whatsoever a person thinks that’s what they are. The first thing you need to do is to shift focus from your fears.  Accept that failure will happen and that people will reject you and be fine with it.

In the book of 2 Kings we are introduced to four lepers who were compelled to act when they realized that they had nothing to be afraid of as their inactivity was going to have the same effect:

2 Kings 7:3-9 Amplified Bible (AMP)

 

3 Now four men who were [a]lepers were at the entrance of the [city’s] gate; and they said to one another, “Why should we sit here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We will enter the city’—then the famine is in the city and we will die there; and if we sit still here, we will also die. So now come, let us go over to the camp of the Arameans (Syrians). If they let us live, we will live; and as it was, and fled for their lives. 8 When these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank, and carried away from there silver, gold, and clothing, and went and hid them. Then they went back and entered another tent and if they kill us, we will only die.” 5 So they got up at twilight to go to the Aramean camp. But when they came to the edge of the camp, there was no one there. 6 For the Lord had caused the Aramean army to hear the sound of chariots, and the sound of horses, the sound of a great army. They had said to one another, “The king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come [and fight] against us.” 7 So the Arameans set out and fled during the twilight, and left their tents, horses, and donkeys, even left the camp just carried [some valuable things] from there also, and went and hid them. 9 Then they said one to another, “We are not doing the right thing. This is a day of good news, yet we are keeping silent. If we wait until the morning light, some punishment [for not reporting this now] will come on us. So now come, let us go and tell the king’s household.”

In the text the lepers had nothing to lose they were already outcasts and they were already losers.

They knew for certain that if they stayed were they were they would die but if they moved they was a slim chance that they would survive.

The opportunity was not cut and dry as it depends on the mercy of their enemies.

Rather than die without taking action they decided to take action.  It doesn’t have to be dire for you to change the way you have been behaving.

When you put your dreams away because people do not approve you are not succeeding.

You are being rejected so whether you follow the dream or not those people will reject you.

When you put away the dream because you fear failure you have not avoided failure.

You still failed.

Be like the lepers if you are slowly dying inside because you have put of making decisions as a result of fear.

It is better to be rejected or to fail having attempted something than to die a painful slow death.

And as long as you are trying there is a slim chance that you will succeed. You have nothing to lose. They don’t like you, they don’t approve of you,to them you are going to be a perpetual loser.

So shift focus and the way you talk to yourself because if acting in your best interests causes people to walk away from you it means that they do not really love you.

So focus on the benefits rather than an expectation that might not come to pass.

Is There Not A Cause?

I learnt a powerful principle from David when he faced Goliath. It’ s the principle of self-awareness.

1 Samuel 17:28  And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.

1Sa 17:29  And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?

1Sa 17:30  And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.

David knew who he was and by extension he knew his why? It’s traumatic to watch Christians who do not know who they are and have not found the “Why” of their cause.

It’s not that you aren’t talented or that we are cursed but you self-sabotage yourself and live below your capabilities because you haven’t invested in yourself.

In order to rally yourself towards action you have to know your motive for making the decision.

The commitment to act differently will arise when you begin to ask yourself questions about yourself.

Do not be afraid to separate yourself from the crowd. If you are going to work on yourself you need time.

Do a cost benefit analysis as you ask questions:

Is it prudent to delay making a decision?

What are the long term implications of delaying making a decision?

In the net year what will your situation be like?

If your motivation is to please other people what does your life look like without them in the picture?

These questions will help you realize that you have nothing to lose and propel you towards action.

What will making decision enable you to do?

Something happens when you reach a place where fear, failure, shame and rejection don’t matter.

You will gain a salient understanding that all your actions have made you feel shame, rejection and failure because you have not allowed yourself to be who you are.

But when you decide to act differently the benefits that will accrue;

Making a decision enables you to sleep soundly.

Making a decision will help you have clarity in your life.

Making a decision will help you not to develop emotional and mental problems.

You will find your “Why” by asking questions.

When you find the motivation you have to take the next step and create time so that you can work on it and have clarity. It will create a pathway towards mastery, which is a critical component to achieving victory in any aspect of your life.

Instead of spending countless hours engaged in unproductive activities commit an hour a day to meditating about your life and the things you want to see happen.

An hour is not a lot but,

It’s Up To You!

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