I believe I owe y’all an apology for the feeble attempt at humour contained in my last posting.
To my utter disbelief, Yuk Yuk’s hasn’t called, The Comedy Club has not signed me to a trillion dollar contract and it saddens me to realize that I am going to have to keep my day job for quite some time to come.
Tragically, it seems my advanced level of cerebral humour is beyond the comprehension of the simple masses.
Being a genius is not without pain.
At least that’s what my wife, the genius, tells me.
But I digress (is it possible to digress at the beginning of a conversation or are you digressing when you realize that you haven’t yet begun to address the intended purpose of the discussion so you shift to the real topic at hand which would therefore make the digressed topic the real topic, and if that’s the case, what do you call the original, non-digressed topic?).
I was chatting with a young friend recently when she started telling me about how skilled and talented she has become at procrastination.
She told me of how frequently she would plan an activity or project with the intention of getting it done only to realize later that it had been replaced by some other activity or just simply forgotten.
This was becoming a pattern of behaviour and an ongoing source of increasing frustration.
And she couldn’t figure out a way to stop this.
Several thoughts immediately came to my mind. The first was when she used the word intention.
Much has been written about the power of that word.
The guru’s and experts tell us that the prerequisite step to achievement begins with intention.
They tell us that once we form the intention to do something, it is as good as done.
There are even entire books dedicated to that premise.
And I don’t get it.
You see, in the world in which I live intentions don’t count.
Results come from what we do, not from what we intend to do.
So if you and I were having a meal in a restaurant and I spilled my drink all over your brand new bell-bottoms (for those of you born after 1975, look it up), my tearful apology and repeated declaration that drenching you was not my intention does not alter the fact that you are soaking wet.
My action, not my intention, ruined your meal.
And procrastination is simply intention unfulfilled.
So why do we do it.
Why do we examine that old cliché that exhorts us to “never put off until tomorrow what can be done today” and turn it on its head by adhering to the doctrine of “never do anything today that can be put off until tomorrow?”
Why do we do this?
We procrastinate, put off doing things, for one reason and one reason only.
And you’ve heard it here a million times before.
It’s because we only ever do one thing – we do what is most important to us in the moment.
For example, it’s game seven of the Stanley Cup, you’re glued to your TV, your buddies are over for the game, it’s the third period, there are 18 seconds of play remaining, your team is up by one, your wife comes into the den, turns off the TV and says “I need you to help me trim the dog NOW!”
What do you do?
Firstly, examine your intentions.
Nah, you’re not man enough to do that.
Instead you remember that we only do what is important in the moment.
And we decide what is important by whether it will give us pleasure or help us avoid pain.
And you do an instant cost/benefit analysis.
And you give the dog a haircut.
Because the pleasure of watching your team win the cup only lasts a few hours.
And being reminded, and reminded and reminded of your poor choices lasts a lifetime.
So we procrastinate when it’s not important enough.
In other words, when not doing it is not too painful.
So buy my book Life Sinks or Soars – the choice is yours now.
.And I won’t bother you while you’re watching the game.
Till we read again.