PROCRASTINATION – You are not a lazy, undisciplined person!
If you don't yet know what's truly highest on your values, you're more likely to procrastinate hesitate and frustrate in your daily life.
Have you experienced times in your life where even though you tell yourself that you want to do some particular action, you find that you continue to procrastinate when it comes to initiating or following through on that very action? Even though you know how important you claim the action to be, do you continue to find every possible excuse or opportunity to not start or complete the action?
Because of this, have you judged yourself for being undisciplined and lazy? Or possibly even judged someone else for not having follow through with what they say they are going to do? I would imagine that there is not a human being alive who hasn’t beaten themselves up for not doing a task that they say they want or need to do, or judged others for not achieving what they said they would do.
The reason people tend to procrastinate, hesitate, and frustrate on certain tasks has very little to do with laziness and more to do with what it is they truly value and what they perceive to be priority in their lives.
Every human being, including yourself, lives with a set of priorities, a set of values, things that are most to least important in life. This set of values determines how you perceive the world, what you decide, and how you act. The hierarchy of your values dictates your destiny, your identity, where you are reliable, where you are organised, and where you are not.
Whatever is highest or most important on this unique list of priorities or values is what you are most likely to be spontaneously inspired from within to do or fulfill. Because of this you are unlikely to require any extrinsic motivation such as the promise of a reward or fear of a punishment to get it done. Conversely, anything you require this extrinsic motivation to achieve is low on your values.
Following from this, you will have actions that you are spontaneously inspired from within to do, actions that you tend not to procrastinate on and instead find a way to make time for. Those are likely your highest values. What is it in your life that you don’t need reminding to do? What do you leap out of bed in the morning to achieve? Does your identity revolve around this?
You may have individuals in your life trying to tell you what your highest values and priorities “should” be, and you are allowing their voices to cloud the clarity of your own true value hierarchy. You may also be trying to live in someone else's values, someone perhaps you admire or see as an authority figure. As a result, some individuals find identifying what their highest values actually are as challenging because they perceive that they “should” be different from what they truly are.
Because of this, you may not honour your own true highest values and the corresponding areas where you are your most spontaneously active and inspired.
Anytime you expect other individuals to live by your set of values, or expect yourself to live by someone else’s set of values, you're likely to have futility. No-one can sustain living in someone else's values because it goes against what's intrinsic for them.
So, whatever's highest on your unique set of values, you are spontaneously inspired from within to fulfill, and no motivation tends to be needed. In a sense, you are internally called to do it, which is why some individuals refer to their highest value as their calling in life.
The neurology associated with living congruently with your own highest values is fascinating; when you live according to your highest values or top priorities, blood, glucose and oxygen goes into your forebrain, which is the executive center of your brain. So, anytime you fill your day with your highest priority actions and do what is most important, meaningful and inspiring in your life; you wake up the part of your brain that is involved in inspired vision, strategic planning, objectivity, execution of plans, and self-governance. You are also more likely to wake up your leadership capacities because you will tend to be more effective and efficient in your actions and have more resilience and stamina in life.
On the other hand, when you fill your day with low priority actions, actions based around lower or injected values, the blood glucose and oxygen go into your subcortical brain which includes your amygdala. So, instead of waking up your executive center for inspired vision, you wake up your lower functioning part of your brain responsible for fight or flight, which deals with survival reflexes, and impulses for immediate gratification (seeking pleasure) and for avoiding pain.
As a result, you are most likely to avoid challenges and seek an easy less meaningful or productive path, while also taking on the role of follower. Can you see how avoiding challenges is another way to say ‘procrastination’?
Procrastination is not because you're a lazy person - from this incomplete awareness many people get falsely labelled. They compare themselves to other people and inject the values of others. They cloud the clarity of their own vision and lose sight of who they are, they expect themselves to live in these values that aren't really important to them. If you try to live under another individual’s set of values you're going to have futility, frustration, procrastination and hesitation because it's not you and your mind and body is designed to do exactly that - to not pursue something that is not important to you.
You can do amazing things with your life if you live congruently with what you value most. However, the moment you try to live in someone else’s values and need outside extrinsic motivation and reward and punishment incentives, then you’re likely to want to look for immediate gratification while also procrastinating, hesitating, and frustrating on anything that’s challenging or something you don’t want to do. Sound familiar?
Like the majority of individuals, you may tend to set up so-called goals or fantasies in your life that are not deeply meaningful to you but which you perceive you “need” to or “should” get done. You may also tend to compare yourself to others, put individuals on pedestals, and inject values from others so that you lose sight of what is deeply meaningful and truly most important to you.
Procrastination, hesitation, frustration, laziness, and other similar labels indicate you may not be the true you. Instead, they may be feedback to let you know that you are wise to go back to being who you are – getting back on priority.
So, procrastination is often a symptom of trying to be someone you're not and do some action that is not most important to you. As such, it’s valuable feedback to let you know that you’re not being the authentic you. Beating yourself up and self-depreciating is actually an essential feedback response because it’s letting you know that you're going in a direction of action that is not necessarily your authentic self; you are designed to procrastinate, hesitate, frustrated on things that are low on your value as feedback to get back on track to the authentic you.
If you can't see how some particular action is helping you fulfill what is most important and meaningful to you, you're likely to procrastinate, hesitate, and frustrate when considering doing it. When you realise the meaning of this feedback and link the ‘unloved’ actions to your highest values and re-align your life to be congruent with your most important beliefs, you begin living by priority again and your self-worth tends to increase, your self-image tends to go up, and you are most likely to begin feeling inspired, energized, engaged and vitalized. You will spontaneously take action as you have identified how doing the action is serving your highest values. It becomes a no brainer instead of dragging your feet and using self-discipline and the reward/punishment systems of the lower mind.
Procrastination is not a mistake and it’s not a weakness. When you procrastinate, hesitate, and frustrate, you’re likely to be attempting to achieve some goal that is lower on your list of values.
So be aware of the labels that you put on yourself. Anytime you hear yourself saying “ I’ve got to do this, I have to do this, I must do this, I should do this, I'm supposed to do this, I need to do this” these imperatives indicate you are injecting the external values of some authority and expecting yourself to do something that's not important to you and to live outside what your values are. This is self-defeating and the labels and beating yourself up will start and you will hesitate and frustrate. Don't waste your time on goals that aren't really important - give yourself permission to go after what's really important. Give yourself permission to structure and organise your life by delegating lower priority things and getting on with higher priority things.
When you get back on to priority, life changes. The label starts to lift and you start realising No. That was a false label. I bought into because I subordinated to a projected value of some outside individual.
Knowing your unique hierarchy of values, or highest priorities, is the most important place to start if you would love to break through procrastination and begin living a life of prioritized, self-mastery