"Waiting for Godot." Play by Samuel Beckett, Playright. "Do not wait, the time will never be just right." Napoleon Hill. "Hurry up: your dreams are waiting for you, but they will not wait forever." Paulo Coelho
"Time does not wait for anyone." Varma Priyanka. "Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men." Colossians 3:23.
Recently, I have stalled on some projects that are part of the goals that I have set for my life. For example, completing my second novel. I am so close, in fact, all I have to do is finalize revisions. But, for some reason, I am experiencing some type of paralysis of movement. Now I know all about procrastination, but I think there is a place that goes further than that. I believe that is where I am right now.
Thankfully, I engaged in deep and critical thinking and came to the conclusion that something else is going on. I had to revisit the "why?" of the goals that I have set for my life." Succinctly put, why did I want to write in the first place, and if I really did, why am I not doing it? Everything seems so easy when you are pondering, but answers are not so forthcoming. However, I did take a closer look. My "why" had not changed. I write because it gives me a sense of fulfillment, and I really do believe that what I have experienced, witnessed, and/or observed has helped me and can help someone else to live a better life. So what is my problem?
Well for one thing, if you sit around prolonging things, you will arrive at the place where you begin to doubt your ability to do it. I had to rapidly dismiss this thought because I have the qualifications (MFA), life experience, and love of the craft. Additionally, I had already had a book published. But, that still did not motivate me to move any swifter. Why????
This brought to mind a play that I had the opportunity to see, "Waiting for Godot" by the playwright Samuel Beckett. "Waiting for Godot" is a play in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, engage in a variety of discussions and encounters while awaiting the arrival of the mysterious Godot, who continually sends words that he will appear but who never does. To reiterate, Godot never arrives. Just on hearing that, you know there is a lot of symbolism in the very plot, at least for those who are viewing this. What/Who does Godot represent? The answer is "the unattainable." While there are many interpretations, the one that I believe applies here is: LIfe lived in anticipation of something which never materializes; it is always just beyond the horizon, in the future, arriving tomorrow.
I know this sounds cliche. But, think about it. Be honest. When someone asks you what you will be doing in five years, how do you respond? Many of us can ramble off a list of intriguing undertakings without a single plan to put any of it into action. We write it off to "one day" we will accomplish these things. In the interim, we wait for the right time to get started. Sometimes we wait indefinitely.
Many years ago (for me that is more than 20 years ago), I read a book by Napoleon Hill entitled, "Think and Grow Rich." Just read it for the excitement. When I read this book, I was energized. I could not put the book down. I saw millions in my future. I said "future" because nothing happens instantaneously. Also, nothing happens by just thinking. You have to do some work. I learned this the hard way. Sitting around thinking I did come up with some great ideas. That was not enough. Application is crucial. In the same way that the characters in "Waiting for Godot" were waiting to be enlightened by Godot, their time could have been better spent searching for additional pathways to enlightenment. In this context, stop waiting for the intervention. Show up for yourself in your own life.
Back to the topic at hand. Procrastination is one issue, but paralysis is another. Paralysis can be defined as the inability to act or function in a person, organization, or place. What can render a person powerless to act? The first thing that comes to mind for me is "perfectionism." Trying to wait until all conditions are perfect is one way to kill a project and to waste a lot of time. In searching further to understand my penchant for being perpetually stuck, I had to understand why. I am not lazy, nor am and I one to avoid reality or responsibility. There was only one thing left to acknowledge, I am a perfectionist. Please understand that I am not foolish enough to believe that I am perfect, I simply aim for it. I spend a lot of time (waste a lot of time) trying to get things to be just right before I do anything. Therein lies the problem. "Perfectionism spells paralysis." Winston Churchill.
"Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap." Ecclesiastes 11:4. This scripture speaks to the waste that it would be for a farmer to wait for the perfect time, always doubting, and miss the growing season entirely. His family would go hungry and his land would lay fallow. "If nothing is done till all difficulties are removed, no good thing will ever be done." John Gill
There are many reasons why "we" put off following through on the appropriate actions that will enable us to reach our goals. I cannot presume to know why anyone else puts off doing what needs to be done in a timely fashion. Sometimes it is fear of failure, rejection, or inadequately; all of which need to be confronted. But, what I do know is that time will pass whether or not one pursues their dreams or life's goals. Something else I have learned is that there is a season in which we should get things done. Time will not wait on us to make a move. Get going!
Examine Your "Why?": Things change. Do you still want to undertake the project that you keep delaying taking action on? I am not talking about serious occurrences that prevent you from working on your goals. I am talking about the usual meddlesome distractions like the TV, the telephone, miscellaneous phone calls from people whom you would not normally take the call, Facebook, etc., etc. Answer the question: Why did I begin this project in the first place? Am I still committed to its completion? If your "why" is no longer relevant, perhaps you should consider either chucking it and selecting another project or recommit.
Organize: Get everything you need to work on your project and place it in a designated area/space with the tools and or supplies that you will need to work on your task. For me, that would be my computer, printer with ink and paper, pens and pencils, notepad, and relevant books. This is done so that you have no reason to avoid getting right to work. Having a place that you specifically set aside in which to work sets a tone that you are serious about your commitment. Additionally, "You need an environment that stimulates your vision." Michelle Bernard, Author, Artist, Personal Trainer.
Eliminate distractions: Turn the TV off, I know the phone is like another limb, but try to turn it off. If you cannot turn it off, put it on vibrate and make a note of who is calling and call them back later. Do meal preps before you start working so that all you have to do when you are ready to eat is to reach in the refrigerator and get what you have prepared. Have your snacks (if you eat snacks) already available so that you do not have to get up. This helps to alleviate procrastination.
Prioritize: Overwhelming yourself will only lead to frustration and a breakdown of the discipline that they are trying to achieve. Look at the whole task and decide which part should be completed first and the order in which you complete each part of the task. Break down task into manageable pieces. Do not attempt to complete it all in one sitting. Determine what time of day, which day/s of the week you will work on this particular project and which part/s of it you are going to address and for how long until completion.
Set Deadline for Completion: Allowing a project to go on without seeing the end is one way to get discouraged, and it might lead to further delay due to doubts about the worthiness of the project and your capacity to complete it. In other words, you can begin to lose confidence and question why you thought you could do this in the first place. Deadlines force you to bring the project to a conclusion and reinforces the joy of success at having met a deadline and clears the way for the next thing.
Take A Break/Hold Yourself Accountable/Reward Yourself: Schedule planned breaks to avoid burnout. Take a dance break, an exercise break, or a deep breathing exercise break for about five minutes and get back to work. If you need to take a couple of days off from the project in order to refresh yourself, do so. But after 2 or 3 days, get right back on task. These breaks can be very productive because you bring "new eyes," (a renewed prospective) and a stronger determination to finalize the project. Hold yourself accountable. You can do this by enlisting the support of a friend with whom you periodically share progress with or you can keep a journal of all actions taken with regard to the project. When you have been faithful to the task, reward yourself. It can be something as simple as buying yourself a new pen to treating yourself to dinner or an item of clothing, etc. These little rewards validate your hard work and remind you of the success that you are working toward.
Everyday I learn something new, and sometimes those things help me in my endeavors. I heard the comedian Tiffany Haddish say that if you have something you want to pursue, "do something each day to move toward accomplishing this goal." This means that by making small strides each day, you will eventually get to where you want to be. It will also solidly your real interest in the goal as evidenced by your continued involvement and earnest effort to see the goal through to completion. That is my take on it anyway.
In conclusion, know why you want to do what you say you want to do. Do the research and be prepared to do the work. If you do not put the time in, you will not get the outcome that you desire. Stop waiting for tomorrow to get started. You know the old saying, "tomorrow never comes." Stop wasting time! Seriously, "today" is what we have to work with. Pray, plan and get to work! Add persistency and consistency. You can do it. There is greatness in you, placed there by our Creator! The world can benefit from it! Get busy! "Just do it!" Nike.
Wishing you Godspeed in all your endeavors!!
Thank you again for your continued support. I am grateful that you take the time out to read this blog. Also, thank you for your wonderful comments. It really blesses me and keeps on task.
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