Are you guilty of hesitating to take action, overthinking or putting things off until tomorrow (or next week, or maybe never?) Well, you’re not alone. Procrastination is a common condition for us humans. In fact, it is estimated that around 20% of people suffer from chronic procrastination, and 25 – 75% of us are prone to it to a certain extent. But we should beware – for it is a more dangerous condition than you may think! Why is that? Well, because procrastination can cause us to miss out on opportunities to transform our lives for the better.
Why do we procrastinate?
In the wild, an animal that hesitates to follow its instincts may lose out on its next meal (or even end up as someone else’s next meal!) But we humans no longer have the pressures of day-to-day survival acting on us. Most of us exist in a zone of comfortable complacency that keeps us in a state of relative inertia.
But this inertia doesn’t necessarily mean we are simply lazy. When it comes to procrastination, hesitation and putting things off, there are other factors at play, such as:
- Fear or risk-aversion;
- Low self-esteem;
- Being too comfortable as we are;
- Having too many options to choose from;
- Lacking a clear vision or dream of the future;
- Not having the support or approval of others;
- Over analysis;
- Inadequate information;
- Inability to make a decision;
- We’re too stubborn or don’t see why we should change.
Many of us will have a cocktail of these reasons floating around in our heads and stopping us from taking action to change our lives. A simple formula (the Formula for Change) is relevant here:
D x V x F > R
This show that our Dissatisfaction (D) combined with our Vision of the future (V) and the possibility of taking the first steps (F) needs to be greater than our Resistance (R) for us to make a change.
But what’s the harm in doing nothing?
I think most of us are actually aware of what holds us back, but behind the excuses there is another major factor that blocks change – the lack of consequences if we don’t act. Unlike the animal in the wild, there is no imminent risk of harm or death if we don’t make a decision to change. But what if there was such a risk? And does an unfulfilled life or an unrealised dream actually harm anyone, other than you?
In my book The Big Dipper, I describe procrastination as “the killer of dreams.” But it’s more than that. What if certain innovators , inventors and creatives had failed to act? What might we be missing from our lives? Electricity, penicillin, life-saving medical procedures, the mobile phone, the works of Shakespeare, the art of Van Gogh … the list is endless! These important discoveries and works that have shaped our futures came from someone’s courage to act. They didn’t allow the fear of failure, or the lack of information, or the ridicule and scepticism of others to hold them back. And lucky for us that they didn’t!
So what is holding YOU back?
As we’re repeatedly told, right now is the best time to make a change. If you’re not satisfied with your life or your success, if you’re not chasing your dreams, why aren’t you doing something about it? What are you waiting for? If not now, when?
Nobody can make the decision to make that change but you, and the time is always right to do what is right. How many lives you could change for the good if you didn’t hold back? What could you accomplish, if you pursued your dreams and goals with unrestrained action? So what are you waiting for?
I hope you have found this inspiring. If you have, why not take the first steps to make the change you want in your life and your business? And if you need somebody to guide and support you, talk to me. I’ve got your back!