The Procrastination Myth

So first question you might have is, why do we procrastinate in the first place? The truth is, most people think they know, but really have no idea they’ve bought into a monster myth. Here’s what I mean, I remember my life, you still look like this, and make a to do list of all the things I wanted to do one day, then I’d get up in the morning and talk myself into checking my email. Before starting on the list. I’ll start right after my email, I tell myself, then I get an urge to watch a YouTube video, I’ll start right after that video, I tell myself, then I’d start on the list. And after 10 or 15 minutes, I find myself looking out the window, thinking about something random. I’ll start right after I think this through, I tell myself in so it would go on hour after hour, until I’d get to the end of my day and have a tiny fraction of my list done. What was the cause? I used to think it was because some part of me wanted to sabotage myself, there was almost an inner enemy inside who didn’t want to see me succeed. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the voice inside that gets you to procrastinate, but also, the voice inside tells you you’re not good enough, says mean things to you, and tells you you’ll never succeed. But then I started to think about it, why would there be something inside me wanting to sabotage me doesn’t make sense, right? And then I started reading books that got me questioning this even more. For example, Tom, who BR and his co authors say in their book and lpv Essential Guide, that there is no such thing as an inner enemy. They say when people do things that are not good for them, they are doing what they’re doing, because some part of them thinks it’s essential. They say behind every behavior is a positive intention. And Connie Ray and Tamara Andrea say in their book, that every one of our behaviors, feelings or responses has a positive purpose. Even those things we like least about ourselves have some positive purpose. It feels like procrastination is an enemy on the other side of the rope trying to sabotage us. But no, it’s actually some part of us. That’s procrastinating because it thinks procrastinating isn’t just important, it thinks procrastinating is essential. So it’s not an enemy trying to sabotage you. It’s really a misguided friend who doesn’t know any better. It’s like a dog who loves you, but doesn’t know any better than to pee on your carpet. Would you call your dog in enemy for peeing on your carpet? So I started to wonder if some part of us thinks procrastination is essential behavior. Why is that? Why do we find ourselves keep doing it again? And again? Well, Jeremy Bentham was an English philosopher. And he said that human behavior is controlled by two forces chasing pleasure and avoiding pain. You’ve probably heard that before. After all, it makes sense. You want to eat that chocolate cake because it feels good to sink your teeth into it. But here’s what’s interesting. We’ve recently discovered that us humans are actually a lot less motivated by pleasure than we once thought. Research on addictions, for example, show us that people don’t get addicted to things because those things feel good. No, they get addicted because those things help them escape something bad or uncomfortable. They’re already feeling that’s why near al says in his book in distractible that the drive to relieve discomfort is the root cause of all our behavior. While everything else is a proximate cause. All human behavior is shaped by a desire to escape discomfort. We eat that chocolate cake to escape from the discomfort of craving, we check Instagram to escape the discomfort of facing our inner emotions. If you really get this it forever changes how you look at everything we do, including everything we procrastinate on. The monster myth is that there is an inner enemy sabotaging us, and that we have to fight this enemy by forcing ourselves to beat it. The Insider secret is that procrastination is an essential behavior to get us to escape discomfort. But what discomfort is it getting us to escape from and what can we do about it? Let’s cover that in the next video.