How to Get Out Of Your Own Damn Way!
"And no matter how seemingly healthy and spiritually evolved we are, there is still a part of us, however small, that does not want to exert ourselves, that clings to the old and familiar, fearful of any change or effort, desiring comfort at any cost and absence of pain at any price, even if the penalty be ineffectiveness, stagnation or regression.” - M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled.
No matter how proactive and organised I am with my approach to life and work, there are always things that I avoid doing, regardless of the fact that I know it must get done or even that it would probably make my life a lot easier if I just did it asap. I know we all fall short of staying constantly on top of our game and it’s only natural to fall off the wagon from time to time, yet for as pumped and motivated as I was to start this year a boss and tackle 2018 head-on, I still found myself unconsciously dragging my feet within certain aspects of work and life. I have every good intention of progressing instead of procrastinating, so then why was this still a problem - why was I still getting in the way of myself? Even though I want more than anything to have contentment and to be my version of successful, there is a part of me that stays glued to old ways, therefore resisting growth. Of course, I had to do a little digging around and after some good old fashion research, I came to the following two conclusions.
DISCIPLINE COUNTERS LAZINESS
“Disciple has been defined as a system of techniques of dealing constructively with the pain of problem solving - instead of avoiding that pain - in such a way that all of life’s problem can be solved.” - M. Scott Peck, 1978.
Perhaps a gross assumption, but I have come to believe that when we put things off or actively avoid work to be done, we are mostly acting out of fear (e.g. of failure) or a lacking in effort. Laziness essentially. Always a fan of instant gratification, I like to avoid what I deem unnecessary suffering, taking the easy route irrespective of the fact that logically the hardest (and usually most rewarding) tasks should be completed first. It’s an unwillingness to extend myself beyond what is absolutely necessary, even though I know that true growth requires effort.
Growing up, I worried about being lazy so much that as an adult I’d try to look busy. And yet, laziness isn’t only lounging in-front of the TV, it’s also avoidance. I can be as busy as I want to be and still lazy and ineffective. And by observing those around me, I can see that it’s something we all suffer with. In fact, M. Scott Peck compared Adam and Eve’s Original Sin - a curse lumbered onto the rest of us - as a natural tendency towards laziness. It’s not a particularly nice thought to confront about ourselves, especially when so many of us do work really hard. But perhaps by being aware of the issue we can consciously combat inclinations towards low effort and motivation, rather than feeling threatened by the work needed to change (humans generally being adverse to change).
How to combat these inner demons? Discipline; repeated, conscious effort in addressing whatever we are avoiding or putting off, as those tend to be the biggest fish to fry. I’m becoming acutely aware that consistency is the secret sauce of life (from successful relationships to social media growth ha!) and by practicing more positive habits, such as the disciple of delayed gratification, we can continue to grow in a meaningful and effective way. As Aristotle said, “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit”.
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY REGARDLESS OF FAULT
“The road to power is in taking responsibility”. Will Smith, 2018.
I love watching motivational video clips by Will Smith - the man speaks so much sense and his latest reasonings brought me to my second and shorter point: an essential part of discipline is an awareness of responsibility. So as Big Willy says in his video, it doesn’t matter who’s fault something is if it’s your responsibility to address it. The more time we waste pointing fingers (even if it’s to ourselves) or making excuses, the more we stay stuck. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way around it: we cannot solve problems, except by solving them - one of life’s wonderful riddles. Accepting responsibility can be difficult - as is the growing pains into adulthood - but also so worth it when we’re able to quickly solve problems and advance.
Long story short, it takes disciple to overcome habitual laziness, as well responsibility and accountability to get out of our own damn way. My focus for this month is to wise up to my own blocks and work towards a positive resolution for myself. Remember, nothing changes if nothing changes. Go forth and be effortful, friends!