One Thought That Can Conquer Procrastination

Do you want to conquer procrastination? You can do it with one thought.

Robert Herjavec is a multi-millionaire businessman who is best known for his starring role on the TV show Shark Tank. If you don’t know already, Shark Tank has entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to five wealthy investors (the sharks). Robert is my favorite “shark” on the show.

On multiple episodes, I noticed that Robert mentioned his marriage of 20 years. The frequent mentions gave me the impression that he was overjoyed about his marriage and family. But a few years ago, Robert and his wife separated and his kids stopped talking to him.

He was devastated.

Desperate and considering suicide, Robert contacted his pastor, who suggested that he volunteer for a shelter in Seattle. It was exactly what he needed. 

“I was hollow and broken, and these people saved my life.”

~ Robert Herjavec

As Johnny Dodd of People magazine writes,

“The pain of his own life was soon eclipsed by the ‘suffering and hopelessness’ of the desperate men and women he met in the shelter.”

Robert realized that his relationship troubles, while significant, were nothing compared to the suffering of those he helped at the shelter who worried about if they’d eat during the day and where they’d sleep each night. His perception of the “typical human experience” shifted dramatically. His eyes were opened to not only how good he had it, but how much worse life could be.

That story has its own lessons to tell, but I told you this story to show the power of a simple perspective shift. Profound experiences like Robert’s can shift one’s point of view, but such experiences are rarely available on demand the moment we need them. Did you know that a single thought can have a similarly powerful effect to change how we perceive something?

A Subtle, Powerful Truth to Conquer Procrastination

Are you ready to see the subtle truth that can shift your mindset and thwart procrastination?

Progress is not convenient.

I know. It doesn’t look powerful at first glance, but the more you let this idea soak in and penetrate the deep recesses of your mind, the more profound it will be.

The USA is an entire country that practically worships convenience. People own their own cars, because it’s faster and more convenient than public transit. In Seattle, I can order a meal and it will be at my door within an hour. I can shop on Amazon and get items delivered within two hours. Dishwashers, washing machines, microwaves, and running water are just a few more ways we’re spoiled with convenience.

But progress is not convenient.

Progress requires an amount of effort beyond comfort and convenience: exercising, researching, writing, reading, thinking, planning, and strategizing are all less comfortable and convenient than many alternatives.

This is important to understand: you will very rarely feel like the best thing to do is also the most convenient thing to do in any given moment. Those who wait for progress to be convenient will procrastinate! 

The Tyranny of Convenience in the Mind

When so many aspects of life are convenient—and convenience is really nice—it’s easy to treat convenience as a value. Our values influence everything we do, but convenience is best used as a situational perk, and not a fundamental driving force of our decisions. We like convenience, but there is a valuable place for inconvenience, too. It’s not only valuable but essential to make progress when it seems inconvenient to your situation.

To conquer procrastination, simply think about the fact that progress is rarely (if ever) convenient. We all want progress, because progress is the foundation for success. The only way to get it, however, is to do something that will seem inconvenient! If you are used to convenience, making progress might feel wrong to you. 

Why is it powerful to know that progress is inconvenient?

Because you can’t solve a problem you don’t know about. We will avoid doing productive things if we (unknowingly) want them to be convenient. When we admit that progress is always inconvenient, we destroy these phantom urges that make us wait to do what matters. Just being aware that the important things will usually feel inconvenient can encourage you to overlook the inconvenience and get moving!

(photo by planetlight)

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