As I sit at my desk after a full day at work, finally with the time and quiet to write, I came across this draft post which I actually started (ok, maybe started is a bit of a stretch. I at least had the title and pic!) back in October.
Yup, you read that right. October 17th at 9:41 a.m.
I had a great idea for a blog post on procrastination. The thoughts were flying around my head and I thought, cool! This post could go viral! Just kidding :)
Of course once you have a great post idea you need to find the perfect picture for it, right? So open another browser and start searching through Flickr. A dangerous idea! If you’re like me, once you start seeing interesting, thought provoking pictures, other ideas and thoughts start popping up. But of course, I would get back to writing the post. Eventually.
Obviously, I didn’t get back to my procrastination post that day. Or the next. Or even a week later. About two week later I read Leo Babauta’s of ZenHabits post The Little Book of Procrastination. And I realized something big: I procrastinate because of F.E.A.R.
False Evidence Appearing Real
False evidence appearing real. That’s what fear really is. And it’s a big reason why people procrastinate. Leo touches on this in his post when he says “We might be afraid we’re going to fail, or look ignorant or stupid. We’re most often afraid of the unknown, which has more power because we don’t examine this fear…” and that unknown is usually false. False evidence. And unless we face it, it appears real.
Overcoming the Boogeyman
When I sit down to write, F.E.A.R. strikes. Fear that my writing isn’t “good enough”, fear that I’m chasing yet another rabbit hole by trying to start my own small business, fear that I’m too inexperienced, too old (I know, contradictions, right??), fear that my ex- was right and I should just keep my good municipal job until I can retire, fear…fear…fear… the list goes on.
And yet as I write this, I have a full time job, a small blog, two clients for my virtual assistance business and am a freelance contributor to a new local news/events newspaper. And yet, F.E.A.R. grips me.
I decided to come up with an arsenal I’m going to start employing against the F.E.A.R boogeyman:
False ≠ Real
My fears are FALSE. Am I the next great writer? Am I going to make six-figures as a small online business owner? I seriously doubt either. But that doesn’t mean I completely suck at writing or administrative consulting. It doesn’t mean I can’t study successful bloggers and learn and improve. Admitting that the fear is FALSE has to be the first step in overcoming it. From there the key is to keep moving forward.
Evidence – The burden of proof is on the prosecution
Is there any valid evidence to my fears? Maybe. But not nearly as much as the dire scenarios that play in my mind. Listing the pros, cons, and worst case scenarios of my goals has helped me clearly see the evidence presented by F.E.A.R. is circumstantial at best! Not one piece of evidence would hold up in a court of law. Therefore, F.E.A.R. has nothing to hold me in its’ grip. I’m free to go!
Appearing (now playing at a theater near you)
Keeping up appearance plays a huge part in our society. If you read my post Simple Guide to Overcoming Mistakes, you know what I think about how society perceives appearances. F.E.A.R. likes to appear as rational, normal. Wants you to think it’s just looking out for your best interests. Wants you to fit in, be like everyone else. In reality, fear is like a chained lion, roaring around. The only problem is this lion has no teeth. We give it the power to frighten us by listening to his roar. When we get to the realization that it’s all just an appearance, an act, we now have the power to tame the lion.
What’s real? Your hopes, your dreams, your goals are REAL. My hopes, dreams and goals are REAL. Will they all come to fruition? Maybe. Maybe not. But I know one thing for certain, they will only become real when I act on them. If I don’t even try, if I let F.E.A.R. get the best of me, let it grip me and overcome me….then I will cease to be real. I will have given up the real me. And that’s not a life I want to live.
What is your F.E.A.R? What is holding you back from making your dreams real? What steps are you taking to fight back against F.E.A.R?
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