Our mind is our greatest asset but sometimes… it seems like it’s our own worst enemy.
The human brain is so lazy when it’s time to take action that it will outright deceive us in order to postpone it.
Picture this. You’re on your way to your workplace. You’re pumped. You have all your goals and dreams unfolding right before your eyes… and you know that once you get to your computer, you’ll work like crazy. But once you get to work, you end up doing anything else BUT work.
You start reading your emails. Then, a colleague invites you to grab a cup of coffee. 20 minutes later, when you’re ready to do some actual work, you find yourself doing some minor tasks. There’s plenty of time to do the hard stuff later, right?
Here’s what happened. When you were in your comfort zone, your brain KNEW he didn’t have immediate action to take. But once it did, all enthusiasm was gone and you ended up going back to your daily routine.
Your brain found good EXCUSES to feed you, killing the initial state of flow which you were in and derailing you from your path to success. But once I expose them, you’ll be able to spot them in real time as they occur and replace them with ACTION. Here they are.
Excuse #1: Yeah, I’ll do it in just a minute. Let me grab a cup of coffee
This is by far the most common excuse for not taking action. Your brain is bribing you with a reward before you actually do the work. When you see this happen, you HAVE to flip the script. Fast. Work first, the reward comes later.
Excuse #2: I have to clean up first, my place is a mess.
This can happen especially if you work from home. You brain is trying to trick you by making you do an easier task. But if you’ve read Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog, you know you should always start with the most important task on hand, no matter how difficult. Even if you don’t finish it, you’ll gain great momentum from starting it and working at it for a while.
Excuse #3: Let me think this through for a little while longer.
When this hits you, ask yourself: haven’t I thought this through already? Is there new information that might help in making a better decision? If not, you’re probably just oscillating between doing it and not doing it. You know what to do, right? Go for it!
Excuse #4: If I do it, this bad things will happen.
Look, a lot of the things we do carry bad consequences. But if it’s something you know you need to do, the downside shouldn’t be enough to stop you. Fear is part of life, whether you’re afraid to talk in public or you have approach anxiety when trying to meet a girl you like. Sometimes it’s best to just ignore the logical part of your brain.
Excuse #5: Ok, I’m completely clueless on whether I should do it. Let me just ask someone and if they say I should do it, I’ll do it!
Asking for a second opinion is almost always a good idea. People more experienced than you can give valuable insight that will help you make better decisions. But understand this: nobody can make a decision for you. Nobody can take action for you. Nobody can succeed (or fail!) in your place.
Excuse #6: Let me do it but, at the same time, I’ll keep an eye out on this other thing, so I can be more productive.
More often than not, this “other thing” is easier and more enjoyable. That’s why you want to do it. You end up focusing 80% on something unimportant while making a mess of your main task.
I don’t have to tell you about the dangers of multitasking – this has been debated to death. If you have a feeling that you should be doing 2 things at a time, ask yourself why. Is because it’s going to be more productive… or more enjoyable?
Excuse #7: I just don’t feel like it.
I left this for last because it’s the most destructive excuse of all. It happens typically after all the other excuses settle into your daily self-talk. As simple as it sounds, it is associated with people who simply do not care whether they take action or not. Some call them lazy, I call them unmotivated.
The solution? Start with something simple, yet make sure you stick to it… even if you don’t feel like it. You need to learn the power of commitment, you need to make taking any kind of action as part of your daily life. Even if the action is small and there’s no real reward.
My sincere hope is that, from now on, whenever you hear them inside your head, you take drastic measure.
So… what’s your excuse? Tell us in a comment below.