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June 30, 2019

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What happens when you procrastinate on your fears?

June 1, 2018

 

Probably all of us struggle with procrastination at times.


Procrastination, along with the related trait perfectionism, is really just another behavior rooted in fear. We avoid doing the things that scare or overwhelm us. And some of our biggest fears are making mistakes, “failure”, criticism and rejection.

 

Fear is not really an enemy, however if we act on it it can stand in the way of our good self-esteem, self-confidence and success. 

 

When fear manifests itself as procrastination and we don’t act, what happens to our original underlying fear? Or what happens to fear generally when we avoid facing what scares us? 


Regardless of what kind of procrastinator you are, and whether you procrastinate by catastrophising, feeling overwhelmed, avoiding or letting yourself be distracted, if you don’t face the little fears that underpin your procrastination, then over time these fears incubate and grow, so that it gets more and more difficult to get things done. A vicious spiral!


It’s normal to be uncomfortable when faced with potential failure, criticism and rejection. We all want to feel good about ourselves.  Less pleasant experiences, such as criticism can lower our self-esteem and make us feel bad about ourselves, so we often avoid doing things that we think might lead to failure, criticism or rejection.  

 

“Whatever humans have learned had to be learned as a consequence of trial and error experience.  Humans have learned only through mistakes.”  

Buckminster Fuller

 

We all know the saying “feel your fear and do it anyway” – It’s important to simply notice our feelings, allow them to be there, and then take the best steps to move forward. Even failure, criticism and rejection provide us with the opportunity to grow and develop – to become a life and career success.  


And we don’t have to take “failure”, criticism and rejection personally.  They simply are feedback – outcomes or result of things we have done.  They are not who we are, and whilst we all make mistakes and fail on occasion, and do things that cause others to criticize or reject us they provide us with important opportunities for learning and improving our actions.

They certainly don’t mean that we are failures as people, even when we have made some poor choices and have done some dumb things.

 

Failure, criticism and rejection provide the opportunity to start over – hopefully a little smarter.  

 

Procrastination is just another facet of fear, so facing your fears allows you to grow and move on. I also recommend catching up on the story on CONQUERING FEAR in this blog article.

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