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

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