Most of you have plans, goals, and projects. What’s stopping you from working on them? What are you waiting for? When are you going to do the things you said you wanted to do?
Before we start, know that I’m not (entirely) a self-righteous bastard. At one time or another, I answered ‘yes’ to each of the following questions (except one) as an excuse to delay action. Today I share them with you in the hopes that by exposing their ridiculousness, I’ll help you reach your creative goals just a little faster.
First, two things to know:
- A vast majority of the shit that’s stopping you is in your own head. Hence the reason for ‘mental karate’ in my new and marginally improved slogan. Train your mind, your ass will follow.
- What you do today is a di rect result of what you did yesterday. What you will do tomorrow is a direct result of what you do today.
1. Are you waiting until your circumstances change?
They won’t change until you make them change. Your circumstances are within your control. Unless you’re incarcerated (in America, there’s a 1 in 100 chance you are), you have the freedom to create better circumstances for yourself.
Or you can adapt to the circumstances you find yourself in. Go with what you’ve got and consciously work to improve things along the way.
Exception: People experiencing truly painful and/or tragic circumstances. If you’re in a place like this, be kind to yourself and take all the time you need.
2. Are you waiting until you have more time?
You’ll never have more time. You’ll never have less time. You have about 16 useful hours in a day, just like everyone else.
The question is: how will you use those 16 hours? On what will you focus?
Will you focus on fear-mongering news which functions primarily as a delivery mechanism for selling adverts to car dealerships and drug pushers? Will you concentrate on moving a little digital avatar around a fake world populated by undersexed desk jockeys?
Or will you decide that creating something amazing is more important than amusing yourself with frivolities?
3. Are you waiting for the economy to improve?
Will it matter if it does? Will it make a difference in your work? Probably not.
Each day you allow some flaccid excuse to stop you from doing what you know you need to do, your personal economy will continue to deteriorate. Forget the macro-economy. Unless you like worrying about things you have absolutely zero control over.
Build a side hustle, save wisely, and leave the macro-economic worries to the goons of Wall Street and Washington. They’re going to keep fu**king it up anyway.
4. Are you waiting for a good idea to strike?
You’re going to be waiting a long time, brothers and sisters. If you really believe that you shouldn’t do anything until you have a good idea, you might as well hide out in your cubicle and wait for the next round of layoffs.
Or you can start working on something, even if you’ve got only a vague, half-baked idea as to what you want to achieve. When you get to work, amazing things happen and inspiration is far more likely to strike.
5. Are you waiting until you’re ready?
Unless you’re studying medicine or rocketry, you’re ready when you decide you’re ready. Education and preparation are vital, but they can easily become ‘useful’ forms of procrastination.
Note: planning is action, not preparation. Preparation is studying, reading, absorbing. If you’re in the planning stages, awesome. You’re way ahead of the game.
If you’re not planning, isn’t now a great time to start?
6. Are you waiting until someone gives you permission?
No one will give you permission. No one has the right to give you permission. We’re talking about your creative projects here.
You’re not at work. You can’t piss off your boss. You’re not at school. you don’t need the teacher’s approval in order to relieve your swollen bladder.
For your own projects, you are the boss, and you can’t fire yourself for doing something amazing/creative/provocative.
7. Are you waiting until life is less stressful?
Life will continue to be stressful. But like time, stress is subjective. Give yourself plenty of free/rest time and learn a few techniques for managing your stress levels.
8. Are you waiting until the fear abates?
It won’t. Wish I could tell you different. That’s part of the game. Fear and resistance. They’re like those rotten friends of your roommate who never seem to leave. They know you despise them, but they just smile at you as they drink (and don’t even finish) your last two beers.
Every time I share something with the world, I imagine hellfire and brimstone raining down upon my little world. So far, nothing’s happened worse than the occasional ash dusting.
If you’ve never had a roommate with rotten friends, imagine fear as a deformed lizardy creature latched onto the back of your head.
Now visualize flying to Cambodia, renting an RPG, tossing the creature far away from you, and going to town on that son of a bitch. You’ll never kill it, but you can at least cripple it and show it who’s in charge.
9. Are you waiting to win the lottery?
You’re an idiot.
Take a moment and examine your answers. Hopefully you gave a resounding ‘no’ to each of them. If not, hold your yesses up to the light and turn on your bullshit detector. What’s left? Probably nothing but a couple flimsy excuses.
We humans are notoriously good at choosing the path of least resistance. We create these disempowering mental scripts and repeat them to ourselves until we believe them..
Why? Because making excuses and answering yes to these questions allows us to stay on the safe and easy path.
Remember, most of what’s stopping you is in your head. You can keep answering yes, but maybe it’s time to say no.
Talk to me
- What will you do today to prepare for tomorrow?
- Did you answer yes to any of these questions? If so, what’s your next step?
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Photo cred: libertinus