Sunday, November 10, 2013

"Procrastination – Is This An Alternative Solution?" by Marcus Baker

I read the following post on Marcus Baker's blog ( He writes on a concept that is so simple but I hadn't considered before. Instead of waiting until you feel like doing something which in turn leads to procrastination, go ahead and do it. I wonder how much more we all would accomplish if we did that?

Procrastination – Is This An Alternative Solution?

Recently I was reading some work by the late Japanese psychotherapist, Dr Morita Shoma (1874-1938), founder of Morita Therapy, a branch of clinical psychology strongly influenced by Zen Buddhism.

He noted that how a person feels is important as a sensation and as an indicator for the present moment, but that the feeling is uncontrollable.

According to Shoma we don’t create feelings, feelings happen to us and since feelings do not cause our behavior, we can function with unpleasant feelings while still taking constructive action.

If this is true then we don’t have to wait till we feel like doing something before we do it, however isn’t this exactly what most of us do?

This is what procrastination is all about. You wait till you feel like doing something before you do it, but what happens if you never feel like doing it? This is why some people never leave the starting line.

How much more would you achieve if ‘feeling like doing it’ was not a valid criteria for taking action?

I know that when I procrastinate in certain areas of my life it’s usually because I allow “not feeling like it” to take control but I also have some very solid examples to call on when I have not allowed this to happen.

During my earlier years I was a competitive swimmer. I was required to be at training every day at 5am no matter what. I did this for close on 2o years. Later in my life there was a period when I had to go to gym every morning at 5am. It was the only way I could fit it in with my busy work schedule.

I achieved my goals and beyond in both of the above sporting endeavors. I accomplished these because they were important to me. I did what I had to do to make them happen.

How did I do this? By not waiting until I felt like it before taking action. There were many cold, dark winter’s mornings when I certainly didn’t feel like getting up but I did. On other mornings, having gone to bed late I would wake up tired. It would have been very easy to rather stay in bed but I didn’t allow how I felt to get in my way.

If you look at your own life, you too will have accomplished many tasks that you didn’t feel like doing. These may have been as simple as doing homework, going to work on a Monday morning, walking the dog in the rain, taking the trash out etc. You accomplished these things because they needed to get done.

In doing these you applied the essence of Dr Shoma’s method:

1.Accept your thoughts and feelings as perfectly natural to you in the moment. Don’t ignore or avoid them. Welcome them but don’t let them be the reason why you don’t do something.

2.Know your Purpose – Know what it is you want to achieve and why it’s important. Focus on your goal.

3.Do what needs doing in line with your goal, whether or not you are thinking positively or feeling motivated.

If you can find some examples in your own life of when you have taken action regardless of how you felt and achieved your goals then you can do so again no matter what it is you want to achieve. All that’s required is putting your will into action.

The problem with a lot of so called “cures” for procrastination is that they assume you have to find a way of being motivated before you can take action. However this is really just an extra hurdle placed in the path of action.

Consequently most motivational workshops and similar aren’t part of the solution but part of the problem because they re-enforce that you have to get psyched up before you can take action.

By believing this you now not only have to do some task you don’t want to do but you also have to feel great about doing it before you can begin. Isn’t this just heaping more pressure on yourself than is necessary?

You have the spirit to make things happen at any time and in any moment unless you give your power away. Freedom and power are connected to taking responsibility and exercising your spirit within. You don’t have to wait until you feel like doing something before you do, so stop allowing this to get in your way.

Let’s always remember Nike’s well known slogan, “Just do it”. I’d like to think that whoever came up with this was influenced by the work of Dr Morita Shoma but it makes no difference if they were or not.

In conclusion I leave you with more wisdom from the Japanese doctor:

“Give up on yourself. Begin taking action now, while being neurotic or imperfect, or a procrastinator, or unhealthy, or lazy, or any other label by which you inaccurately describe yourself. Go ahead and be the best imperfect person you can be and get started on those things you want to accomplish before you die.”

Sounds like great advice and you can do so starting right now, no matter how you feel. Are you ready to be the master of your destiny?

- See more at: Marcus Baker's personal development category

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Transitioning Sucks

I have to admit it. Life transitions suck. Oh, it can be fun in the beginning. You gathered the courage and took the leap to head for the new and unknown. Things were fine at first, but then you were thrown one unexpected curve ball after another. Now the thought is, "I didn't sign up for this." And you can't go back. Former connections have dissipated so you can't rely on those security blankets anymore. Plus, if you had the chance to go back would you really want to? Sure, the person you were starting out could put up with or overlook certain situations, but could you do so today?

Transitioning sucks but there's only two real options: move forward or stay stuck where you are. So moving forward sounds like the best option, because you don't want to stay where you are now. I know I don't.

"But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good..." (Genesis 15:20, King James Version)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Embracing Your Limitations - Inspired by Phil Hansen

I saw the following video in Dan Miller's post Embrace the Shake. (Dan Miller is the author 48 Days to the Work You Love and Wisdom Meets Passion.

In this TEDTalk, Phil Hansen explains how, as an artist, initially he considered his nerve damage as the end all of his dream. But he learned how to take his limitation and create and expand his art in ways he never dreamed or envisioned.

It's a different way of thinking. What could we learn to create within our limitations if we took the time to embrace them?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"There Is No Overnight Success" by Jonathan Wells

"Life is about growth and change, that is the journey we are on. If we only focus on the final outcome we miss the joy associated with our experience. In other words, we miss out on life itself." - Jonathan Wells

I read those lines in the following blog post.  The post can be viewed in its original form by visiting Jonathan Wells' site Advanced Life Skills.

There Is No Overnight Success

by Jonathan Wells

Because our life happens one day at a time, there is a tendency to view each day as a separate and independent event. While I am a big fan of living in the moment, it is equally important to understand how one moment relates to the next.

Life is a cumulative experience

Those with something to gain want you to believe that major changes can happen almost instantly and with very little effort. They try to convince you that you can be a millionaire, or the picture of perfect health, if you just buy their product and use it for the next thirty days.
Promises like that can sound very appealing. Don’t be fooled, there is no such thing as an overnight success, or even an overnight failure for that matter. Sometimes it may appear to be that way, but that’s just because we were not in a position to witness the whole process.

See the big picture

In actuality, success and failure are the result of prior choices and actions. Barring any unforeseen catastrophic events, your life today is the sum of all your yesterdays.
To succeed in any area of life we need to learn to view today, not as a single disconnected event, but as a major contributor to our future. This requires a special kind of awareness. It means being able to look ahead and see the likely consequences of what you are doing right now.

Shortsightedness eventually brings pain

If we don’t see the connection between are choices today, and our quality of life tomorrow, there will pain and disappointment in our future. We see this scenario being played out every single day.
One common example of this kind of shortsightedness is someone who eats and drinks without any regard for the long term consequences. Over the years their weight and blood pressure rise steadily. The function of their liver and pancreas is slowly impaired, and their level of physical activity decreases. Then, seemingly out of the blue, they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, or worse yet, they have a heart attack.

Still no clue

What’s their response to their new reality? They either wonder why, or they chalk it up to getting older. When in truth, it was the predictable outcome of two or three decades of not associating today’s choices with tomorrow’s reality.
We could say the same thing about a relationship that slowly goes bad, or constantly rising debt that leads to bankruptcy. Failure to recognize and acknowledge that our future is the culmination of all the previous days and years is a sure path to pain and disappointment.

Awareness leads to success

On the other hand, we can make good use of the cumulative nature of life to help move us steadily in the direction of our goals and dreams. However, before we can do that, we need to adopt a different mindset with relation to how we view the accumulation process.
We live in a world that wants everything right now. People have linked their positive emotional anchors to instant gratification. They have no patients for, nor do they find any pleasure in the process. They just want the result without having to do the work. The problem with this mindset is that life simply does not work that way.

Learn to love the journey

Life is about growth and change, that is the journey we are on. If we only focus on the final outcome we miss the joy associated with our experience. In other words, we miss out on life itself.
On the other hand, if we live each day with no awareness of where it is leading us, then we have no direction and will never achieve any goals. What we want is the best of both worlds. We want to fully enjoy and experience each day, and know that it is moving us ever closer to the realization of our long term goals.

How can we do that?

1) Shift your mindset with a question. You need to weigh each day’s activities and decisions according to your long term goals. Simply asking yourself, “will this move me toward success or away from it?” will increase your awareness and change your perspective
This applies to personal goals, business goals, and relationship goals. For example, If you are considering a second helping of dessert, ask yourself if that will move you toward your weight loss goal, or away from it. If you are about to find fault with your mate, ask yourself if pursuing that conversation will strengthen your relationship or undermine it. Always consider the long term consequences before to make a decision or take action.

2) Learn to find joy in the process. I learned this from the legendary Bonsai Master John Naka. When I was relatively new to the art of bonsai he told me that if I did not learn to find enjoyment in the training process, I might as well buy finished bonsai trees and just be a collector.
But I wanted to create not collect. We are all the creators of our own life; we can’t just buy the life we want. Doesn’t it make sense to enjoy the creative process while staying aware of our overall direction? We do this by holding a vision of our desired future and finding joy in each step of the journey.

3) Review your actions weekly. Every week take a few minutes to look back and double check your direction. Are you still moving toward your goals, or do you need to make some adjustments? Were there any activities over the past week that did not support you goals and should be eliminated?
Then review your goals to see if they are still what you want. It is not unusual to discover that the goals themselves need to be adjusted from time to time to stay in harmony with who we are right now. Don’t be afraid to reevaluate your goals as you grow and progress.

Using the present to sculpt the future

As we can see, within the scope of normal circumstances, there really is no such thing as instant success or failure. Learning to maintain a constant awareness of how today’s choices effects tomorrow’s life will empowers us to create the future we want, while finding joy in the journey.
"And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it." (Habakkuk 2:2 King James Bible)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Don't Lose Your Mojo" by S. Anthony Iannario

I read this on S. Anthony Iannarino's site The Sales Blog. Anthony is the President and Chief Sales officer for SOLUTIONS Staffing in Columbus, Ohio, and he's an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. To read the following blog post in it's original format, click here.
Don’t Lose Your Mojo
February 17, 2013 by S. Anthony Iannarino

It doesn’t matter that you failed. It doesn’t matter that you lost the client, lost the opportunity, or lost the job. It doesn’t matter that you did your best and that your best wasn’t good enough. The events or the circumstances that led to your failing don’t matter either. There are only three things that matter now.

First, you need to derive any lessons you can from your failure. The price of an education is experience. And the price of experience is failure. What did you learn?

Second, it matters that you pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and step back into the arena. Your past performance isn’t necessarily indicative of your future performance. Lots of people failed countless times before finally breaking through. But to succeed in the future, you have to try again.

But the most important thing I saved for last: You can’t lose your mojo. You are a value creator. You live by the Value Creator’s Code. Because you are a value creator, it’s time to reengage with the world and the opportunities in front of you with all the confidence in your abilities that you had when you tried and failed. It’s time to step back in with all of your mojo, all of your confidence. It’s time to reengage your head, your heart, and your guts. All of these things are still alive inside you. Or they could be.

The world is waiting for you to make a difference. We’re counting on you. A lot of people are counting on you. Get your mojo working.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Times of Change

Changes. They come to shed the old, and this shedding provides for the new. Old thoughts and habits keep us where we are. The irony is while you may be growing, developing, or experiencing success where you are, you're not doing the same where you want to be. Your life isn't heading in the direction you want it to go--where you constantly dream of it's being. And the dream won't seem to go away. Even when you've lost sight of it or given up on it, it still lingers like an odor with a source that can't be determined.

That dream will remain unfulfilled and will continue to will continue to haunt you with glimpses of how life could be...until you embrace your times of change.

"[A song for going up to worship.] When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, it was as if we were dreaming." (Psalms 126:1 GOD'S WORD Translation)