Procrastination- The Fear of Failure

I consider myself the perfect little procrastinator. Ever since I had the chance to push things off, I have probably done so. Perhaps I have inherited this bad habit from both of my parents. Maybe I have just come to engrain it in my daily life because of how good it feels to simply chillax while better and more important things should/could/must be done. But the truth is, this entire procrastination deal – it’s starting to bother me. A bit. Actually a lot.

I remember back in the days, maybe 3 years ago, most likely even longer, when our college assignments were given to us at the very beginning of each semester. Petty university assignments – how I long for those days now. And despite the fact that I knew 8 weeks ahead of time what our papers were to be on and how much time we had to do some research, write it up, and form a great piece of work out of it, it wasn’t until that very last week I started to become slightly nervous. Usually it even took a day and night before the due date in order for me to finally push through, do an all-nighter and write those 3,000 to 5,000 words of academic meaningfulness in less than 24 hours. I guess I’ve always been afraid of my own capabilities and what might happen if I were to fail my own expectations. So whenever I still managed to pull an A- or B+ from that cheesy assignment, I was good to go. Heck, I even thought I was one of those lucky ones who write or perform well under pressure.

I’ve always hated public speaking most likely for the aforementioned reason. Procrastination! No sense to come up with a great speech and rehearse it in less than 24 hours. Once I started preparing for a speech for 3 days straight, I knew I was really blossoming when I had the time to prepare and proofread. Of course speaking in front of a class freaked me out at first. But only by overcoming my fear of failure, I started enjoying the adrenaline rush and was able to successfully graduate the course. In a way, public speaking has taught me several things. One of the most important ones I take with is: You cannot be afraid of what you have never tried. And another: Procrastination is just getting in your way when you could do so much better by preparing.

It’s one thing to write a 20-page-paper in college within one day and night and feel you’ve really accomplished something when you get your A- the week after. But procrastinating for your own sake or rather misfortune – who needs this? Lately I’ve found myself caught in a cycle of not feeling too motivated to change things in my life and not wanting to find the time to change these named things in my life. Blogging has been one. Seeking out new opportunities another. And then of course the tedious tasks of editing my own works, be it writing or photography. Perhaps even forming a plan on how to cheaply travel the world. All of these are dreams but in order to pursue a dream, work has to be done.

Sometimes I just wonder what I am afraid of and why I cannot seem to take responsibility for my own happiness. Then I find myself caught in front of a TV show or surfing the web on a bunch of irrelevant stuff (think social networking). Procrastination can come in several forms. While two years ago I used to get out there and explore the city, I have found myself now more at home and focused but also easily distracted by petty things. Back then I was focused on social life and having fun, no matter what. Now I am focused on being focused, but not being able to stay focused once I am trying.

It’s weird, the mindsets we can be in sometimes. We want to change but we cannot change. We want to plan but we don’t have the strength to look ahead.

Perhaps my own thoughts are blocking out my ability to simply act. Whatever it is, I would like to get back on track. Especially now, with the cold air blowing in my face and reminding me that summer is another 6 months away. No lazy beach days and tanning sessions as an excuse to procrastinate. Time to write that book. Time to re-apply myself. Time to form life-changing plans in order to feel resurrected.

How do you guys deal with this moment in time when nothing feels quite right and you know it’s your fault?