The FireStarter Says: Close the Gap between Your Thoughts and Actions - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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The FireStarter Says: Close the Gap between Your Thoughts and Actions

Nov 04, 2015

The FireStarter Says: Close the Gap between Your Thoughts and Actions 

So I'm the lazy colleague who is probably the queen of procrastination. And every time I try to motivate myself, I just get lazier. And honestly, I don't know how to motivate myself anymore.

And thus I started reading up about laziness, this deadly disease that pervades our lives every now and then. I wanted to know the deeper reasons for why I am the way I am.

You read listicle after listicle about how to increase productivity, but I don't actually end up implementing any of it. You read it, you understand it, you know what you have to do but you don't end up doing it. Why is that?

It's like how I sit here at work with ideas bouncing around in my head, but actually implementing them is another matter altogether. So much so that my friend beat me to it and wrote an article about a topic that I'd been planning to write about for a little while.

One of the reasons I never end up actually implementing my own ideas is because I fear it won't be good enough. But here's the thing no one tells beginners: 'You're supposed to be bad at it.' I once read a quote by Ira Glass (an American public radio personality) summarizing this feeling:

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good. It has potential, but it's not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.

A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn't have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.

Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met. It's gonna take a while. It's normal to take a while. You've just gotta fight your way through.

So here I list some common reasons for procrastination and how you could find solutions to them:

Fear of failing

You fear your work isn't good enough. Fear itself is a crippling emotion to come to terms with. Fear of rejection is probably what keeps most people from showing the world what they can do.

Failure can do one of two things - either motivate you to do better or make you give up altogether. Most of the time, people give up. It doesn't matter as long as it takes you where you want to go. Failure is inevitable. Failure is part of being human. It's okay.

It doesn't matter how many times you mess up. What matters is how you deal with it and get back up on your feet.

Lack of interest

There will come a time when you realise that you will have to do things that you are not interested in. When you were in school and you had to study a subject you didn't like, you would console yourself by saying, 'Well, at least when I'm older, I can do the things I want.'

While this is true on some levels, there is always a price you pay. For example, even if you find a job you really love, you will spend about half of your time doing what you like and the rest of the time doing things you don't. There's always a trade-off. Never forget that. Even for the people who are doing what they love, at some point, work is work.

Lack of motivation

Sometimes, it doesn't matter what anyone says or does - you just can't bring yourself to do what you're supposed to do. It may be a day, a couple days, or even a week that goes by and you will find time for everything else in the world except for the task you need to do most.

At some point, though, you kind of just have to grit your teeth and do it because deep down, you know you're only making your life more difficult later on. The actual work is never a problem; it's getting started. And taking that first step to action requires a strategy, one that you can work out for yourself.

Because of its complexity

Often, the sheer complexity of a task puts you off from doing it. At such times, breaking it down into pieces can help. As a writer, it's difficult to finish something in one sitting, so I write a bit, wander around a bit, do other work, and then come back to my desk when I'm ready to key in some more.

Thus, the minute you feel complexity is killing your spirit, try not to look at it as one gigantic whole. Envision it in smaller bits, and know that it will finally come together in the end.

Deep down, you're a rebel

And then there are times when you are just in a rebellious phase of your life. You don't want to take instructions, you don't want to follow convention, you don't want to be part of a system, and you simply want to follow your own rhythm and song. You sometimes even ask yourself the purpose of it all.

But you know what I've realised? Knowledge is never complete, and you're only fighting yourself. Forget being a rebel without a cause. Roll up your sleeves, 'cause you gotta do what you gotta do.

Image Source: Gustavo Frazao / Shutterstock


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9 Responses to "The FireStarter Says: Close the Gap between Your Thoughts and Actions"


12 Nov, 2015

Madam, It is nice to talk about all this; but how many parents are willing to let their children to walk away from WHAT THE PARENTS WANT. Tution/ Exams/ Results / more tution/ IIT/ JEE/ MBA/ USA/ AUS/ CAN/ GER/ GB. let us wake up to the reality.


07 Nov, 2015

Very good article.


06 Nov, 2015

I have been following almost all communications from commonsense living.Very good reading with useful contents. can we use these contents / writeups for internal discussions / presentations to our group / team. After all Knowledge needs to be shared. A line of confirmation would be the guiding factor on the matter. Thanks & regarads.

jaishree narendra

05 Nov, 2015

I thought how did she come to know what I was thinking I realised that I don't have goal


05 Nov, 2015

I wonder how you could get into the shoes of so many of us (of varying ages, liking, experience,) You almost spelt out our minds. Well, continue doing so. Wish to read more of your articles. Regards

Andrea Lobo

05 Nov, 2015

A motivating article on how to overcome procrastination and laziness and get into action!

Like (1)


04 Nov, 2015

Wonderful & brilliant eye-opener write-up for similar lazy people like us providing direction to achieve goal & individual's mission of life. Regards.

Nimesh Naik

04 Nov, 2015

Nice one, Now a days procrastination is a lifestyle or a culture. people don't take it as a problem. Structural behavioral therapy can be one of the solution.

Samdup R Phuntsok

04 Nov, 2015

Read your write up with interest. I think I will now make a valiant effort to shirk off procrastination. I suffer from this chronic "Laziness" out of indecision, lack of self motivation and overall indifference. But now that I have some perspective to try from a different attitude, I am going to put myself to test - hope I get over the symptoms if not the whole malady!


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