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Humour Helps Procrastination

PM Scare 2

From: waitbutwhy.com

So I have been doing some surfing research on procrastination, but really what I’ve been doing is procrastinating about writing another blog post on procrastination.

Sad.

It’s so easy to beat ourselves up about not doing the things we know we should, and even the things we want to do… because beating ourselves up is actually another form of procrastination. Procrastination becomes a habit and the mind can find all sorts of creative ways to not make something happen and justify it as well.

The mind is a tricky thing, isn’t it?

Being a procrastinator is ultimately very tiring though. It’s depressing and this leads to finding even more ways to procrastinate, because then I try to find things to entertain myself with to avoid the guilt of my procrastination and lack of productivity. Knowing in the back of my mind that my dreams are not coming true because I am a world-class procrastinator sucks. So I’ll find myself surfing the web watching cat videos, sitting in front of the TV while some useless show is on, or rereading a novel for the fourth time. It takes my mind off the procrastination.

“Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.”

~Robert Benchley

Avoiding guilt isn’t going to help. So I thought about other obstacles I have faced and how I’ve dealt with them. ADD is one of my biggest challenges. Having all channels in my head on at once, all the time and not being able to focus on just one has caused me some grief. It’s affected most areas of my life and I’ve struggled with depression because of it. When I first began to try to deal with it I found that laughing at some of the foibles of being ADD was very helpful. I constantly lose my keys… like EVERY SINGLE DAY, sometimes several times a day… I used to think to myself, “how can you be so stupid?” I don’t talk to myself like that anymore…it’s not helpful. It’s stressful and when I’m stressed it’s much harder to focus.

Being able to laugh at oneself is a very useful key in approaching any problem that lowers ones self-esteem. I’ve used it with my ADD, because having ADD isn’t something that’s going to go away and when I scourge myself for the symptoms which often can really mess things up for me, it just makes it worse.

But laughing at myself when I do something ‘ADD’ helps a lot. Then I’m able to take it in stride and move on, without the energy sucking feelings that I’m too messed up, or not as smart as others, or whatever crap runs through my head.

Tim Urban over at Wait But Why has captured the mind of the procrastinator in a hilarious but accurate way. Of all the articles I’ve read on it so far his resonates with me the most. He uses humour to describe it and to tackle it. I was crying laughing out loud and agreeing with his take on this insidious problem.

Tim’s is a playful yet insightful look at what happens inside the mind of the procrastinator and he also has some great ideas on how to change it. Go check it out…

http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/10/why-procrastinators-procrastinate.html

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Personal Agendas

It’s important to stay positive. I think that is one of the key ingredients to creating a great life. It is also important to stay true to yourself and be clear about your inner motivations and intentions.

Agenda’s are those underlying concepts and desires that structure how we operate in the world. They are our special interests – those things we feel passionate about and want to promote. They are the things that are at the bottom of our personal goals.

Most of us who are dedicated to personal growth have some sense of our place in the world, of being part of a community, whether that is global, our countries, our towns, our neighborhood or even our own small circle. We are part of a system, many systems in fact, and although we are ultimately only responsible for ourselves it would be foolish not to see that we have an impact and that we influence our communities too.

Whether we do this positively, or negatively depends on our ability to be clear about our own personal agendas. Agendas are born, nurtured and sustained by our beliefs about our world and our place in it. Agendas are directly related to our self-esteem and what we want to accomplish.

We all have agendas.

Agendas can be positive, negative… and in rare cases, neutral. Agendas can come from ambitions, and from a sense of service and connection. Agendas can help us focus on our direction and stay on track with our values. Agendas from a place of love and service influence others in positive ways, especially if we are flexible and willing to adjust our agendas to work with others.

Agendas can also come from ego. When they come from ego it’s directly related to fear… usually a fear of losing something, whether that is fear of losing what you need to survive, losing love, losing status, or losing control of something. Agendas from fear are filled with deception, manipulation and only serve the self. These kind of agendas don’t consider the impact they have on others and can bulldoze others in their need to dominate.

Personal development, at its core, is about awareness. It’s about aligning with our highest selves. It’s about assessing who we are and then discarding what we don’t like and acquiring or uncovering what we do like. Our intentions and our passions are the road markers on this path. With awareness our world gets larger and we can see a little further than before. We can see that we affect the people around us, we affect our communities and the world too.

Do we want this impact to be positive, or negative?

Being clear about what motivates us is the key to this process. Knowing what our agendas are makes it possible for us to consciously develop them so that they serve us, and others in positive ways. It prevents us from acting from a position of fear. Being honest about our own personal agendas is the way to bring them in conscious awareness and ensure they align with our values and ethics.

Personal agendas are a fact of life. Like any of our personality traits—quick to anger/slow to start, need to lead/prefer to follow—they have both positive and negative qualities. The key is to acknowledge them openly and work with them. Only then can we move in a shared direction, applying our ideas and passions for the greater good of all.

Everyone has an agenda. Are you aware of yours?

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Fear, Goals, Passion, Personal Growth

 

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The Problem with The Secret

Shallow men believe in luck, strong men believe in cause and effect.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

If there were a day that began with “R” I would make that my rant day. Since there isn’t I guess Thursday is as good as any other.

I had conversation the other day with a young woman. I told her about my new blog and some of the ideas and methods I had come across to get to where I want to go. I told her about the learning curve and the things I am doing to get to where I want to be and working on my writing, etc… then I asked her what her dream was, she told me she wants to raise horses. She loved horses and saw herself with a stable of them breeding, raising and training them for others.

I asked her what steps she was taking to achieve that goal. She looked at me in a puzzled way and started talking about The Secret. She told me that all she had to do was envision her future as she wanted it, as if it was real, and the universe would manifest it for her. She was absolutely stoked about it. I’m thinking, okay… so I asked her what she was doing right now. She said she was in school for a Social Work degree but that she just knew her dream would come true because she knew the Secret to attaining it, that she was putting her energy, her desire, her passion out there to the universe and that it would come back and change her life. Umm… what?

It was a cognitive dissonance moment. Whiplash.

So I asked her if she spent any time around horses, you know, volunteer work at a local stable, or studying horse care on her own, or even going horseback riding on the weekends. Nope. Nada.

“Talent in cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.
~Stephen King

I’m pretty confident in saying that in five years she won’t be any closer to her dream.

It peeves me off because real people have bought this idea hook, line and sinker. They believe that all you have to do is put the wish out there. No follow up, no studying, no effort, no plan. They take a concept like the law of attraction and thinks it’s like a magic pill. An effortless cure-all for the struggles we all face.

Those who believe in The Secret frequently reference visualization as their main technique. Visualization techniques have been used by athletes and all kinds of successful people to help achieve their goals since probably, forever. I’m a great believer in them. I use them myself and they do help. I highly recommend creative visualization but…

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”
~Pablo Picasso

The problem with The Secret is that it leaves out the most important ingredient. Action. You can think all the positive thoughts in the world, you can create a vision board, or meditate on your goals and ‘believe’ it is your reality all you want.

It’s not going to get you anywhere without action.

You have to DO something.

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.” 
~Sarah Ban Breathnach

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Goals, Success

 

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10 Tips for a Great Life

1.  PAY ATTENTION
Most of us go through life on a sort of autopilot. Our habits and lifestyle roll along without much conscious thought. We do our daily things without examining them, we interact with others without stopping to ask ourselves; what does this mean? or why is this happening? why do I do this and why do I do this in the way I do? Or why did they really say or do that? We don’t stop to assess whether our actions and choices and the interactions we have serve our goals and dreams. We muddle along in bit of a fog. Begin to really pay attention to the moment, the thoughts, the habits, the interactions you have. You will be amazed at what you find out.

2.   QUESTION YOUR ASSUMPTIONS
We all have assumptions about life that we have collected over the years. These form the template for our behavior and choices, even if we rarely think about them. These assumptions form our beliefs about ourselves and about the world in general. Sometimes these assumptions are not entirely true and they can get in the way of our success. Examine your assumptions and beliefs. What might have been true for you at twenty frequently isn’t when you are thirty-five. Question your assumptions regularly. Keep what’s working for you and change what doesn’t.

Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won’t come in.
~ Alan Alda

3.  STRETCH YOURSELF
A great life is one that expands and grows, it never stagnates. Learning new things, trying new ways of doing things, opening your mind to unfamiliar concepts, visiting new places, listening to music you normally wouldn’t choose, and meeting new people are some ways to stretch the limits of who you are. Stretching yourself opens the door to fresh opportunities. Choose one new thing to try on a regular basis and soon you will see you are more than you ever suspected.

4.  VISUALIZE
There’s a lot out there about the power of visualization. I find some of it kind of trite and simplistic, but there is a lot power in visualization. It’s like throwing a ball. You don’t concentrate on the ball in your hand; you envision it hitting the target. You look to where it is going, not where it is at. It’s the same with visualization. SEE where it is you want to be. Make it as real in your mind as if it was already around you. Use vision boards, or journaling, whatever works for you. Your subconscious is literal and will react as if your vision is the reality, working with your goals instead of against them. You still have to do the work but it will be much, much easier.

 “You must see your goals clearly and specifically before you can set out for them. Hold them in your mind until they become second nature.”
– Les Brown

5.  MAKE MISTAKES
There is something in us that believes that grown-ups don’t make mistakes. It’s bullshit. The most successful people will tell you that they make mistakes all the time, probably more than most, because they try more things. It’s how we learn. You will screw up. You will learn from it. It’s normal. Don’t be afraid of mistakes, be afraid of not making any because that means you aren’t learning anything.

6.  IGNORE YOUR BUTS
Ah… the buts, the what if’s, the if only’s. Here’s how to banish these nasty little gremlins. They look bigger than they really are – they are only your fears, the illusion that you can’t do something that probably comes from your assumptions (which you need to examine and adjust regularly). Don’t let the gremlins talk you out of your dreams. They are only signposts that point out your challenges, and that’s all they are. They need to be ignored while you dream and set goals. Set them aside for that time. When you begin to plan, then and only then should you let them speak, and then only to find creative solutions to the obstacles they represent.

7.  FEED YOUR PASSION
In my post, The Secret of Inspiration, I talked about how to immerse yourself in those things that inspire. Your passions need to be fed to become the fuel for your great life. Don’t put them on a shelf hoping one day that they will still be there when everything is ‘perfect’, because that day will never come. Take them down and put them in front of you. Surround yourself with anything related that encourages and nurtures them. Write about your passion, journal, talk to your friends about them, read about them, go to workshops, practice your passion daily in any little way you can. Do whatever it takes to make your passion central to your life.

There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it’s the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessperson.
~ Anthony Robbins

8.  BE YOUR OWN BIGGEST FAN
So many of us look outside of ourselves for encouragement, and it feels wonderful when others believe in us. Positive feedback is a great thing, but we can’t depend on it. There will be days when we don’t get that from others, for whatever reason. You need to be your own best friend and when I say that I mean it literally. Treat yourself like you would your very best friend. Ask yourself how you would respond to your best friend in whatever situation you are in, and then treat yourself accordingly. Don’t beat yourself up, cheer yourself on! Give yourself the support and encouragement you would gladly give to your loved ones. Pat yourself on the back when you do anything that takes you one step closer to your goals. Be compassionate with yourself.

9.  MAKE THE TIME
I heard once that the way to measure what is really important to someone is to see what he or she spends their time and money on, not what they talk about. Your dreams and goals need time and space to grow in. You can’t expect success to happen in a 30 minutes slot on a Sunday evening after the kids go to bed. It won’t happen. Sometimes that means something else has to go to make room for your dreams. Make a choice about what really matters to you, then give it the time it deserves.

“The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: I did not have time.“ 
~ Franklin Field

10.  HAVE FUN
This is my favorite because I believe a great life is a joyful one. Yes, sometimes achieving our goals takes hard work but hard work doesn’t have to be dull, or dreary or painful. Your passion, your goals should be something that you want to do, something you would do even if you didn’t need the money. Living a passionate life is more like play than work, and play is the way to creativity, and creativity is where solutions come from. So have fun with what you do, and how you live. Be silly, be absurd, dance around the house, and make a game of things when you come up against something that seems daunting. Use crayons, if that’s what it takes.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2012 in Goals, Passion, Success

 

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The Secret of Inspiration

I saw a tweet yesterday from the lovely and enthusiastic Danielle LaPorte, she said, “Inspiration is Power”. I thought it was kind of a nice sentiment, and then absentmindedly returned to what I was doing.

Later it hit me, that statement encompasses everything. Inspiration is power. It’s the power we need to do whatever we wish to do. When we are inspired it lifts us up, it energizes us and gives us hope. It feeds creativity. It nurtures the soul. Inspiration brings out the best in us.

Inspiration is the key to living our passion. It’s the key to creating the life we really want. It’s the catalyst for the changes we need to make — to step out the daily drudgery that gets in the way of us pursuing our dreams. Inspiration is the thing that will kick our behinds and fuel our ambitions.

Inspiration is the mother of passion, and passion for what we really love to do is the main ingredient for success, however we define success.

But inspiration doesn’t always come to us from out of the blue; sometimes we have to dig for it, seek it out, immerse ourselves in it for it to take root and give us the power to pursue our dreams. We have to give it room in our lives. We have to invite it in.

You know that song? The one that gives you goose bumps and makes you want to get up and dance with joy? The one that makes you want to celebrate life? The song that makes you feel like you could do anything? The one that touches your soul and makes you say, Oh… ya!

That’s inspiration.

You know those books or articles or quotes that gets you all fired up to do something? That makes you remember your dreams? The ones that spark your own ideas? You know the writer or blogger who makes you believe that you can do what you love and have a fabulous life?

That’s inspiration.

You know that person that lights up any room they are in with their enthusiasm? The one that makes you say inside, “geez, I wish I had some of that”? That person whose ideas are infectious because they are so revved up about them?

That’s inspiration too. That’s what I’m talking about.

The secret to being inspired on a consistent basis is to immerse ourselves with those things, those songs, those books and articles, those people that naturally make us feel inspired. It’s like health food for the soul, but it tastes better.

Find those things that light you up, that inspire you and when you find them go and find some more. Immerse yourself in the things that make you feel like you can do anything, that breathe fresh life into you and your dreams.

Eliminate those things that don’t.

Who or what inspires you? What could you get rid of to make more room for inspiration in your life?

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Goals, Happiness, Success

 

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Networking and the Ick Factor

Networking

Gosh I hate that word. It sounds so… cold, so self-serving.

I’ve started my blog, signed up with Twitter, reactivated Facebook (long story). I’ve read tons of stuff about how to ‘use’ social media to promote one’s self, and mostly the advice is good, except I can’t seem to get over this word.

It’s probably just semantics though because I love the idea of connecting with others, anywhere in the world, to share stuff, to help each other in our endeavors.

When I think about where I want to go, where I want to be in three or five years, I can envision being part of a community of people whom I appreciate and who appreciate me. I can envision contributing to their stuff and having them contribute to mine. I love cheering people on, especially creative people who do things that are courageous and ‘outside the box’.

I’m a fan girl.

I am in love with the idea that global online communities can help one another. I am in love with the entrepreneurial spirit I see growing in leaps and bounds these days. I am in love with the opportunities the online world has opened up. I’m in love with seeing people become successful by following their hearts and forging their own path.

I love that people are convinced that what they have to give is so valuable that they give it away for free. (yes, it’s a paradox) I love that they create and sell other things for reasonable prices to those who want them. I love that people are becoming successful by giving their work and wisdom away. They have immense faith in themselves and others. They model the concept of abundance.

It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. Marvelous.

Networking can be about that. Social media can be a way to find and nurture those kinds of connections.

It’s all about connecting with others. It’s about celebrating who we are and sharing our gifts with others, it’s about believing we have something unique and valuable to offer and if we put our stuff out there we will attract those people who need what we have to give. We will find those people who have what we need too. A mutually beneficial way of life.

This is the very antithesis of what we’ve been taught. We have been taught to hold tight to what is ‘ours’, to ‘save’, to jealously guard our stuff… to grab all we can. We’ve been taught to use others to get more for ourselves. We’ve been taught to never give without expecting something in return.

Sometimes networking can be about that too, a lot of times it is. Getting more clients, selling something just for personal gain, using social media just to promote a product or service without any spirit of real community. This is the part that I hate.

Networking, ick.

Maybe I will just replace it with the word connecting.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Goals, Success

 

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One Little Thing for Bad Days

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on blogs I follow. Most are about positive thinking, inspiration or my new interest, minimalism. I love the way a lot of the bloggers write, but they seem so upbeat all the time and I wonder, do they have bad days? I do. I’m sure we all do.

Some of my favorite bloggers, such as Leo at Zen Habits, have been doing this a long time. I have to remember that I’m not there yet. When I compare myself to others it’s easy to get discouraged and that can make a bad day worse.

 

Someone once told me. “Don’t compare how you feel inside with how others appear on the outside.” I would credit them with this pearl of wisdom but I can’t remember who it was.

Some days I get cynical and I have to stretch to find the good stuff. Some days I’m depressed and just finding the energy to get up and keep going is hard. Some days I’m sick and even though the positive thinking and inspiriation helps… I’m still sick. Some days I just get angry at all the injustice in the world, or the selfishness I see around me. Some days I get angry at myself for not living up to my ideals. Some days I’m sad and fearful and I want to give it all up. I want to run and hide, I’m scared of the challenges and it’s tough. Some days I fail, and it takes all I have inside to pick myself up and brush off the failure and get back to my goals. Some days it’s all I can do to do one little thing that’s positive and will bring me closer to the life I really want.

Committing to one little thing is the only way it will happen. Even on the bad days.

It’s about taking little steps, one foot in front of the other. It’s about progress, not perfection. Being kind to ourselves, doing the one little thing today to bring us closer to our goals. Some days that’s all we can do.

Positive thinking, taking care of ourselves, seeing the good, getting excited about something, feeding our passion – that’s the fuel for this journey. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway… just one little thing, can make a world of difference. Remembering that sometimes it’s one step forward and two back, but without taking that one it’s just two steps back.

I don’t deny the bad days anymore, they happen. I accept them and then release them and find something positive, anything. It may be something very simple like doing the dishes or writing a draft for a blog post, or reading one inspirational story or quote. If it’s a really bad day, I curl up on the couch with some coffee (of course) and find one little thing to be grateful for. Gratitude has magic in it. Really.

Commit to do one little thing to take you a step closer, even on the bad days, especially on the bad days. The bad day will seem a little less horrible and it may even turn out better than you imagined.

I’d love to hear what keeps you going on the not so great days. What one little thing do you do?

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2012 in Goals

 

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