2 Keys from Mother Nature to Overcome Procrastination
About 5 minutes to read
There is one disease we all have suffered from at some stage of our lives, and that’s the disease of procrastination. We all do it. For some of us it’s a temporary state of being, for others a lifestyle. We put off the things we say we will do. We make a decision, to either call a friend, exercise, change our job, or change our lives and then we don’t do it. We don’t follow through on our decision. We fall into procrastination; we go off course and there seems to be no end in sight to overcoming procrastination.
At the beginning of autumn, I was gazing out my office window and noticed how nature was changing around me. On the property behind mine was a beautiful bush that was reddish, purple; the colour it becomes before losing its leaves. I also noticed how the leaves of the neighbouring apple trees were falling making way for winter. This led me to consider Mother Nature, how she follows a certain pattern and does not put off until tomorrow what she must do today. Think about this, imagine if the earth decided today not to rotate around the sun or if the sun decided, “I’m going on vacation; I’m not going to shine for a week!” Mother Nature doesn’t do this; it doesn’t procrastinate, it continues to follow the path and purpose it has set before it, in order that you and I might benefit and have happy, productive lives because our lives also evolve with the seasons.
Why is this example of Mother Nature so important for us to pay attention to? Well I think we have a perfect example of something (or perhaps someone) who never procrastinates; she always stays on course, and she is always around us showing us the way, if we pay attention.
Know What Procrastination Is
Essentially, it is resistance, which masquerades as procrastination. Resistance is described by Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art as “the enemy within… it is self-generated and self-perpetuated… it is not a peripheral opponent.” Resistance shows up in different forms along with procrastination and I think we know them all. Some examples are excuses, lack of motivation, fear, or love of something; it is unhappiness, victimhood, being a hero just to mention a few. However, the most common manifestation of the enemy within is procrastination because it is the easiest to rationalise.
A Few Emotional Consequences of Procrastination
What happens to us emotionally when we procrastinate? We get mad at ourselves, become frustrated, depressed, and angry. Perhaps our procrastination does not lead to such extreme emotions but there is a sense of disappointment that we carry within ourselves. Procrastination deflates our sense of self our confidence and esteem. In extreme cases, but sadly too often, we put off our lives until our deathbeds and lead a meaningless existence.
Yet I hear you saying, “But we all procrastinate, I’m not the only one.” Yes, you are right I too am guilty.
My Own Procrastination
A few things I’ve been procrastinating on are:
- Not exercising enough. I haven’t been doing enough exercise of late as I let this fall by the wayside since I went on vacation to Spain,
- Next is insufficient sleep. I’ve been going to bed very late recently and while I can handle this, the long-term effects are detrimental to my health and general well being.
- Additionally I enjoying journaling and have neglected this for a while
- I am not making the time for social contact with my friends as other things seem to be more important, but actually aren’t.
Perhaps you are asking if there is a remedy for this malady called resistance masquerading as procrastination. Yes, I think there is and I would like to use Mother Nature as our example.
Each day the earth rotates around the sun thereby generating a centre of gravity that keeps us sane and routed to her. She also supplies us with oxygen, throughout the planet, every living creature that requires oxygen has sufficient amounts for their needs. Additionally from below the surface, the earth gives forth water that prevents us from dehydrating and supplies the various crops that feed the planet. Throughout the centuries we have begun to understand how she functions and we notice her seasons and weather patterns, all of this provided free of charge day by day from time eternal until infinitum. For the last hundred years or more, we have noticed the changes in her patterns, yet this is not her doing but rather the consequence of our abuse. She is not procrastinating for one second, but simply continues.
What does this mean for us in terms of learning to overcome procrastination?
Mother Nature’s Two Essential Keys
Know Your Purpose
I would like to propose that the number one key to overcoming procrastination is knowing your purpose. When we look at the example of Mother Nature, her number one purpose is to supply and sustain the needs of every living creature on this planet, and that’s what she does, moment by moment. How she sustains each creature is different one from another, yet she knows her purpose and fulfils that purpose daily.
Likewise, we all have a purpose. You could have an prevailing purpose, for example a life purpose or in different roles you could have very specific purposes e.g. as a mother, doctor, or child. We each need to take personal responsibility to know our purpose in our different roles and then fulfil them.
Live Your Purpose
Considering what the purpose of Mother Nature is, imagine for one second if she decided to throw in the towel, halt her purpose or vacate to Venus or Mars. You might be thinking this example is ridiculous but the fact is responsibility has traveling companions and they are – awareness, awakeness, aliveness, assertiveness, and action.
You cannot ever escape procrastination without first taking responsibility for your life (that unique purpose) and then living (on purpose) without awareness, awakeness, aliveness, assertiveness, and action. This seems extremely intense and even as I write this I think, “oh my god how would I ever do this?” and yet like the earth, each day is a cycle of renewal, a chance to start again. Actually the truth is each moment is an opportunity of renewal, when we fall we have to choose to get up again and continue. That’s what Mother Nature does, our consistent companion, she keeps on keeping on.
As we know creating new behaviours and overcoming, old habits can be difficult. If you would like my assistance as a coach please write to me here I would love to be of service to you.
Thank you for being there. This opened my eyes to see a few things I must follow through with. I have one more week to “get well” then I will do what I have been putting off for a while now.