Have you ever felt that for something you believe is true, everyone else in the world believes otherwise? If yes, then you know how it feels. If no, then let me tell you that this usually leaves an unpleasant feeling – nasty, in a nasty way. You either feel utterly lonely or reasonably mad. I don’t know which is the worst of these two. But what is more intriguingly interesting is that nothing can shake your world view more than finding another person believing the same as you. That moment is almost apocalyptic. It has the power to force you readjust the lenses through which you filter reality.
It was such a moment for me when I came across Nietzsche’s perception of hope. I couldn’t believe that there is, or has ever been, another person in the world so negatively charged against hope. For Nietzsche, and indeed for me as well, the worst evil that was released after opening the Pandora’s box was hope. Because the moment you start hoping you enter a passive state. You wish that somehow things will end up the way you want instead of actively trying to make them that way. But here is the thing…
So yes, hope was the worst of all evils that came out of the Pandora’s box. And she gave birth to a notorious monster named procrastination.
The good, the bad and the ugly
What makes procrastination so dangerous is that when you procrastinate nothing happens. Things stall. Things rust. They rotten. And they smell. They sting. This is precisely the reason that the most important thing in any decision making process is actually the very fact of making a decision. Here is how it works when you have a big dilemma and you cannot make up your mind to decide between A and B in the given time:
- You decide to do A. A eventually seems to have been the right decision and you are progressing fast.
- You decide to do B. B eventually seems to have been the bad decision. Consequently, certain things go wrong and you start fixing and adjusting till they get on the right track, after which point you are progressing.
- You cannot make up your mind and you delay the decision as much as you can. So nothing happens, thus you are not progressing at all.
And an important note here. I mentioned that you have to take a decision in the given time. If it is the case that there are no time restrictions implied from external factors, then it is essential that you put a deadline yourself. We work around constraints. If the constraints are not there, we need to create them ourselves. If there are no constraints there is no problem to be solved, no stimuli to act upon.
The single characteristic that will never allow you become an established leader is indecisiveness. This is how you lose, almost instantly, respect from all the people that you are supposed to lead. This is how you spread insecurity. This is how you shrink yourself. On the other hand, decisiveness leads, almost directly and almost always, to success. How bad or how good the decisions will not determine if you will succeed or not, but the degree of your success. They will determine your reputation as a director but not whether you will become a director or not. They will determine the market share that your business will attract but not whether your business will succeed or not. But I will not elaborate more on leadership or business, my interest in this post is to rather explore the deeper root and wider impact that the presence, or absence for that matter, of decisiveness has in our lives.
Whenever you come across a dilemma that remains a dilemma after you have given it its share of careful thought, flip a coin. Not metaphorically. Literally. Everything else is a waste of time and resources. Even if the latter is mainly in the form of available cognitive capacity. The moment we start delaying a decision is the moment that we start losing the forest and we focus on the single tree instead. If you catch yourself procrastinating then zoom out. Take a look at the whole picture again. See how much surface that decision occupies on the canvas. And flip a coin if you must!
The roots of procrastination and a life in slow motion or fast forward
But why do we procrastinate in the first place? Why some times we decide in a split of a second and others delay our decisions to eternity if possible? Without delving into endless philosophical arguments, I think you would agree that deep inside the core of procrastination lies fear. Fear of failure. Fear of missing the target. Fear of embarrassment. Fear of letting others down. Fear of letting yourself down. Regardless what kind you might feel the most, the truth is that you feel fear. Truly. Madly. Deeply.
When at least one of the two options in a dilemma involves a fair degree of uncertainty or a big step out of your comfort zone, yet opens up a possibility to achieve something that you always desired, you start procrastinating. It is then that the dilemma becomes an arena where love and fear battle until there is only one standing in the field. Ready to set your life in slow motion or fast forward.
Have you ever thought that every time you submit yourself to a fear you are killing something that you love? Have you ever thought that if you turn fear around you will find love at the other side? Love and fear. Running shoulder to shoulder along the same thin line. And it is left on you which side you are going to stand. Which one will push ever so slightly and help cross the finish line first.
Let me also tell you that fear is a primal instinct. Everyone feels fear! You cannot argue that the manufacturer made you more fearful than other people. I am sorry but this is not valid, this is just nonsense. People that seem to be fearless have once been fearful. You feel fear till you train yourself to not be afraid anymore. In fact, I think that the more intense the feeling of fear the more the chances you stand to overcome them.
I will quickly drop in a personal situation to illustrate the above fact. When I was deciding to move to London, the prospect of self-development in several aspects was fascinating me. I could feel the thrill of that future challenge in my veins. But it was also scaring me to the point that I was feeling sick. I had never lived to any place other than my hometown and all the practical issues associated with a potential relocation to London were taking the form of ugly little monsters hunting me in my mind. But I also had another fear that scared me even more. That one wouldn’t let me sleep in the night. I was imagining myself some 20 years in the future wondering “What would have happened if I had moved to London two decades ago? How would my life had been?”. That fear of leaving this question unanswered, which I perceive as the voice of love – at that point a love for architecture, self-progress and experimentation, made me finish off whatever I had to finish and move to London.
The Smooth Operator: Killing Procrastination Softly
So, whenever you are about to opt for love and take this life-changing decision, is there anything that can go so wrong really? Let’s nail this question!
I am the first person to tell you that you always need to think of the worst case scenario and be prepared for that. But you need to think it thoroughly. And if you do think it thoroughly then you might realise that often the worst case scenario is what you currently have. So let’s take that dilemma as an example – which is not a random one and I am also sort of biased towards: stay on a corporate job that you don’t like or setup your own business?
I get very confused whenever an employee argues that he stays an employee because he prefers safety. I get confused because this is one of the top reasons I do not want to be an employee any more: safety. How can you ever feel safe in a job that depends 100% on someone else: your employer. He can fire you whenever he wants, can’t he?. He can shut down his company whenever he wants, can’t he? You have zero control over such events as an employee and thus, I believe you have zero safety. But even if I could perceive things differently and agree that being an employee is safe, still I cannot understand why abandoning that role to setup a business is unsafe. Can you not become an employee again if your business attempt does not work out? I believe you can. In fact, chances are that not only you can easily become an employee again but most likely on a better salary than what you had been before too. So, hey, what’s the worst case scenario here?
In reality, if you decide to go after what you love you are seeking the upside without having a downside – at least most of the times. because in any case…
Love and fear in the dance of freedom
Procrastination also has an inherited dose of insanity. Why? Because it is self-imposed. No one and nothing prevents you from taking action and make that thing you have in your mind and in your heart happen but you. You essentially choose to harm yourself. And I think that’s insane. I believe you deserve better. Believe it yourself too.
Do you know why you feel this overwhelming sense of freedom every time you confront a fear? Because fear is conditional but love is unconditional. You make the transition from a conditional state to an unconditional one – thus, you feel free. Because you are free. Be free.
Thank you for reading! If you have any thoughts on what you just read, either good or bad ones, I would appreciate it if you leave a comment below and let me know. Feedback is invaluable in one’s strive for progress. And if you choose to share this post it would mean the world to me! Until soon!
The article love and fear on decision making appeared first on supersizeme