Inspiration of the Self-Reliance 30-Day Writing Challenge

To celebrate Ralph Waldo Emerson's 208th birthday (May 25th, 1803), Self-Reliance urges us to trust our intuition rather than conforming to the will of the majority.

Beginning on May 31st, 2011, The Ralph Waldo Emerson Self-Reliance website*** will post a daily prompt. This will continue for 30 days.

This is my unique creation of personal reflection and responses, based on those prompts.

***See link below for the site.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Biggest Challenge

Day 4

Following instructions precisely as directed is not quite my strength.  The rebel inside of me surfaces, especially when I’m writing from a prompt on a website that encourages individuality.  That being said, this challenge for Day 4 was not done exactly as ordered.  Instead, this prompt was used as a guideline for my blog.

Prompt ~ 
Identify one of your biggest challenges at the moment (ie I don’t feel passionate about my work)
Procrastination is, and has been one of my biggest challenges, for a very long time (63 years?  Probably).  At the moment, I’m allowing my painful medical issues to attempt to justify my procrastination.  But, this is not actually effective, by any means.    

and turn it into a question (ie How can I do work I’m passionate about?)
How can I become more proactive and motivated to begin, and follow through with projects sooner and in a more efficient manner, rather than to procrastinate and delay action?

Write it on a post-it and put it up on your bathroom mirror or the back of your front door.
So, to maintain the theme of existing within my unique personal individuality, instead of using the “Post-It” method, I’ve kept this subject in the forefront of my thoughts and have added suggestions for improvement below.

After 48-hours*, journal what answers came up for you and be sure to evaluate them.
*Also, in keeping with my personal uniqueness, waiting 48-hours to begin journaling would not be effective in my case.
1.   Because the whole idea of my challenge is to overcome “waiting”, “delaying” and “procrastinating”.  Waiting is not beneficial for me.
2.   Because my interpretation of this 30-day blogging challenge is to maintain my individuality.  Beginning my journal now, rather than wait, helps me to continue to follow my distinctive path.

Answers - Brainstorming:
·        Just DO IT
·        Break it down into baby steps, and do at least part each day
·        Becoming more aware of when I’m procrastinating, and immediately taking action, in order to overcome the procrastination
·        Instead of beginning several projects simultaneously, begin one and follow through until done; with the “reward” being to allow myself to continue on to a new project.  (Difficult for me)
·        Less computer time
·        Less television viewing


In evaluating my biggest challenge to overcome procrastination, it would seem the most productive conclusion is to “JUST DO IT”.  Seems simple enough, but for a procrastinator, it’s a complicated task.  Our brains seem to possess some sort of deficiency in this area.  Someone not faced with this challenge, may not quite understand the complexity of it.  Some people judge a procrastinator as being lazy.  This is simply not true. 

This imperfection has followed me throughout my life.  I’ve read books on the subject, listened to audio tapes and analyzed my personal experiences.  In exploring further, I’ve wondered if this is related to my Catholic school upbringing in the 1950’s.  Most of my teachers were strict Dominican nuns, who expected perfection, and nothing less.  Corrections on papers were not allowed.  Instead we were forced to start over from the beginning.  It’s been said that some procrastinators delay doing something for fear of it not being perfect.  Maybe?  Could it be that I’m intimidated about making mistakes?  While I do believe this may have been an initial cause, I’ve grown to understand that there is no such thing as perfection.  There just isn’t.  This has helped enhance my method of thinking, which, in turn, has given me a more realistic approach to getting things done. 

While there’s been much improvement, this still remains the greatest challenge in my life.  Although not terribly horrific, and sometimes can be a blessing, I am grateful this is not a more destructive flaw.

I’m proclaiming “JUST DO IT” for my new daily mantra.  Let’s see if this helps.

Another conclusion to aid in progressing in this area, is something I’ve read about and heard often, but with which I still seem to be challenged.  Break down each large project into manageable bite-size pieces.  By taking daily baby steps to accomplishing goals, provides more frequent rewards, which also stimulates motivation to continue more easily, without as many barriers.  These blockages are not physical, but more of a mental state.

For me, I have a tendency to beginning numerous projects at one time.  In analyzing this, I think it’s just another mind game I play with myself.  Briefly I feel a sense of accomplishment, because everything is started.  But, that feeling is short-lived and the overwhelmed feeling takes over.  It’s just not possible to get everything completed at once.  Feeling defeated, I allow myself to suspend any further action; hence, procrastination. 

There are other obstacles I manage to place in my path.  A major obstruction in this game is to give myself permission to delay action, with distractions such as television or internet time.  My justification is that life is short and I deserve to relax with this entertainment.  This may be true, but only to a point.  However, life IS short, and there are duties and responsibilities that must be performed.  In a balanced lifestyle, there’s sufficient room for both.  To help overcome my challenge, finding balance would be an asset. 

During the recent few years in studying about the Buddha way of life (not as an organized religion, but from the original teachings of the Buddha – there is a difference), I’ve learned the importance of “mindfulness”.  This can be applied to overcoming procrastination by becoming aware of when I’m impeding my own progress.  When noticed, immediately taking action, is another healthy method to avoiding delays.  Being fully mindful of each present moment is beneficial for everything in life.

Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I hear a project calling my name…..

…………. just as soon as I escape from this web

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