There is a unit of time that does not have an official name, but it is a crucial link between success and failure. It is the time between “wanting to do something” and actually doing it. As a youngster, this time period was often prefaced by, “When I’m a grown up.” Later it evolved to “When the kids grow up” or “When I have more time”.
I’ve always been pretty good at meeting deadlines, at least as an adult. I have all my unforgiving journalism professors to thank for that. But when it comes to unofficial deadlines, the game can get a bit trickier. After all, life doesn’t always come with the motivation of a good grade, or the threat of a nasty editor.
I don’t like to think of myself as lazy, or even as someone who procrastinates (more on that later – ha ha). Yet, life threw me a little reminder that I could turn my refrain for “I’ll do it another day” to a life of sloth if I didn’t change a few habits.
A case in point.
I had feng shui practitioner Lisa Montgomery perform her skills and knowledge to enhance and increase the positive qui of my home. One of the cures to prevent negative energy from hitting my happy abode included placing a bagua (a yellow, wooden, octagon with a mirror in the center) over my garage door. The street comes to a T right in front of our driveway, and that can throw a bit of negative vibes our way. This little bagua has been perched in its location for quite some time. Then one day we had a nasty wind storm and the bagua, like Humpty Dumpty, had a big fall. Fortunately nothing was broken. All I had to do was put it back up on its little perch.
However, I was on my way out, so I just picked up the bagua, put it on my spouse’s truck, and vowed I would return the feng shui device when I came home. Of course, I did not return the bagua to its resting spot. I’m vertically challenged and I knew I would have to get the ladder out to accomplish this feat. And it was cold and rainy. “I’ll do it another day,” I told myself. Several days passed and I still hadn’t replaced the bagua.
I thought about the little bagua every day. I even fretted over it a bit. Yet, there it sat on the hood of CB’s truck. As each day passed, I noticed it got increasingly difficult to perform this task. It took on a life of its own. What would’ve been a simple, five-minute task became a real drain on my psyche.
Then one day I pulled in the driveway and noticed the bagua once again. I felt myself grimace as I thought about the task in front of me. “I’ll do it another day,” I thought. Then I stopped myself. “Why am I putting this off?” I asked. “It’s not cold or rainy. I do not have a pressing deadline. The only reason I’m not doing this is because I’ve let my brain turn this little task into a monumental feat.”
So I opened the garage, took out the ladder and put the bagua back to its spot above the garage door. It was done in less than five minutes. Angels didn’t sing the hallelujah chorus and I didn’t feel a surge of positive energy, but the task was done. My only thought was “Why did I wait so long to do this?”
I remember a bit of advice that I learned. When faced with multiple tasks, always do the most unpleasant chore first, then the rest is easy.
It also made me think of the mentors chapter or “I’ll Get By With A Little Help From My Friends” section of my self-help book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within.
The following excerpt is an anecdote Entrepreneur Tammy Dantonio cites from her encounter with her mentor, Tony.
“Tony was always so motivated and I’d ask him how he did it,” said Tammy. “He would create these characters. He called them Mr. Positive and Mr. Negative. He said he’d lay in bed in the morning, not wanting to get up. He said Mr. Negative would tempt him stay in bed saying, “Tony, sleep. Sleep is good. Sleep, Tony. Sleep.” But then he would pantomime Mr. Positive cheering him on to jump out of bed and face the day. He said often, Mr. Positive and Mr. Negative would have words with one another. Often times, Mr. Positive would have to kick Mr. Negative’s ass. It was a funny motivator, but it worked for him and it works for me. It’s not always about goodness and light. Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth, throw back the covers and kick Mr. Negative’s butt.”
The same is true of closing the gap between “thinking about doing something” and taking action. Whether it’s pursuing a dream, starting an exercise program, eating better or mowing the lawn, procrastination is not your friend. Think about Mr. or Ms. Positive and doing what it takes to close the gap between success and failure. Now go out there and kick some butt!