Unproductive Habits, Perishable Time

How many times have we said we wanted to do one thing or another but haven’t brought ourselves to do them in the first place?

How many of us complain of limited time, lack of ‘Me’ time or being constantly overwhelmed, yet when we get a half day available, we then resort to sitting down doing nothing but watch TV, surf the net or go out?

How many other half-days are we getting free but still complain of the lack of free time?

How is this affecting our psyche? What are we constantly telling ourselves as we see we’re unable to fulfill a commitment or another because of our perceived state of hurry and busy-ness?

I have come to see from my experience in coaching and in the outside world that there are a few reasons for holding us back from doing things we want to do. These reasons may be fewer than the things they are holding us back from doing, yet we still allow them to beat us into thinking they are plenty (of reasons why we couldn’t do certain things).

As a result, we may end up feeling constantly disappointed in ourselves, looking down at ourselves because we didn’t do the things we really wanted to do (or those that really mattered) or feeling frustrated that our state of perpetual busy-ness will always stand in the way from us fulfilling our dreams or committing to our goals.

Isn’t that more harmful than actually committing to something as often as we could? Because in the latter case, at least we are moving in the way of our wishes, just slightly in a slower pace (justified by our busyness).

Napoleon Hill says in his book “Think and Grow Rich”: “No man is ever whipped, until he QUITS – in his own mind“. No matter how busy we may be, persistence to committing to what we really want to do is key in lifting our spirits, allowing us to generate more self-respect and higher self-esteem, which form a rich fuel for succeeding in pursuing our goals. Those who quit have already admitted they’re incapable of beating their busy lifestyles, and therefore succumbed to them in a default pattern.

In the mind of a postponer, time is continuous, progressive and persistent. If s/he doesn’t do something now, they can always do it ‘later’. However, the fact that challenges every living being is that time is perishable. Time that elapses, does not return. Therefore, it is the power of harnessing the Now (i.e. living, planning and working in the present) that has the power of bearing the results you wish for in the future.

What I have repeatedly noticed is that people tend to postpone, delay or ignore goals they really wanted to achieve, always managing to find just the right justification for it.  They generally shared similar unproductive habits that did not lead to fulfilling their goals, but would rather serve at temporarily distracting them during the time they had wanted to be doing them. These habits can be listed as:

Lack of planning, which in turn wastes the windows of opportunity (time available) in one’s daily schedule that can be productively used to perpetuate one’s plan to fulfill one’s goals. For example: If one wishes to lose some weight, yet always complains of their busy lifestyle, then when one gets a free day or half-day, one can exercise, workout, detox, etc.  Effects of the result can be experienced almost immediately. When one works out after a long period away from exercise, one can immediately start feeling they’re breathing differently, experience a firmness in their entire body muscles and enjoy a completely refreshing change in their schedule.  As long as one has a plan, despite all busyness and distraction, one can gradually make a series of steps to get to where they really wish to be.

Hill in his book lists 10 major causes for failure, one of them is the inability to organize details. Hill says: [Efficient leadership calls for ability to organize and to master details. No genuine leader is ever “too busy” to do anything which may be required of him in his capacity as leader. When a man, whether he is a leader or follower, admits that he is “too busy” to change his plans, or to give attention to any emergency, he admits his inefficiency. The successful leader must be the master of all details connected with his position. That means that he must acquire the habit of relegating details to capable lieutenants.]

Procrastination, Indecision and Failing to resist the temptation of doing empty activities on the expense of doing important ones. Empty activities are like watching TV without limiting it to a certain period of time, sleeping, eating, going out, etc. All these are activities that help distract and get an immediate escape from the commitments one may want to fulfill.  Hill adds intemperance to the list: “intemperance in any of its various forms, destroys the endurance and the vitality of all who indulge in it”. Hill also points to wishing as opposed to willing as a major cause for prolonging one’s lack of ability to achieve success.

Maintaining a negative framework of thinking: Thinking that you are a victim only makes you one. If you become one, then you start acting like it. This includes short-sightedness, failure, self-disappointment, and low energy. Shifting into a more positive perspective of thinking does miracles in comparison to negative thinking. Positive thinking inspires more effective and productive thoughts, refreshes one’s energy and most importantly renews one’s sense of motivation.

When one feels like a victim, one starts acting like one. This can never lead to success.

Lack of a clear purpose in life: Hill argues that “there is no hope of success for the person who does not have a central purpose, or definite goal at which to aim.” Going on in life on autopilot mode allows results one has not wished or planned for. It also allows other powerful waves to shape one’s life, and hence, one’s future. Remembering who we really are fills us with a sense of motive and intent to become the person we had always aspired to be. However, not having a clear purpose in life, leads us to live each day’s events as they happen, allowing us little space to fulfill our own actions steps and goals that represent who we really are.

To combat these unproductive habits, here’s a list I’m quoting from Hill’s book, as I found it perfect for solving them and creating successful results by shifting one’s perspective into a more productive / positive one:

Persistence is a state of mind, therefore it can be cultivated. Like all states of
mind, persistence is based upon definite causes, among them these:—
a. DEFINITENESS OF PURPOSE. Knowing what one wants
is the first and, perhaps, the most important step toward the
development of persistence. A strong motive forces one to
surmount many difficulties.
b. DESIRE. It is comparatively easy to acquire and to
maintain persistence in pursuing the object of intense desire.
c. SELF-RELIANCE. Belief in one’s ability to carry out a plan
encourages one to follow the plan through with persistence. (Self-
reliance can be developed through the principle described in the
chapter on auto-suggestion).
d. DEFINITENESS OF PLANS. Organized plans, even
though they may be weak and entirely impractical, encourage
persistence.
e. ACCURATE KNOWLEDGE. Knowing that one’s plans are
sound, based upon experience or observation, encourages
persistence; “guessing” instead of “knowing” destroys persistence.
f. CO-OPERATION. Sympathy, understanding, and
harmonious cooperation with others tend to develop persistence.
g. WILL-POWER. The habit of concentrating one’s thoughts
upon the building of plans for the attainment of a definite
purpose, leads to persistence.
h. HABIT. Persistence is the direct result of habit. The mind
absorbs and becomes a part of the daily experiences upon which it
feeds. Fear, the worst of all enemies, can be effectively cured by
forced repetition of acts of courage. Everyone who has seen active
service in war knows this.
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