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The 3 Hidden Causes of Procrastination, Laziness and Poor Productivity

8 July 2013 No Comment

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“The self-talk of procrastinators often centers around
feelings of victimhood, burden and resistance to authority.”

~ Dr. Neil Fiore

Procrastination has a distinct attitude to it, and like forensics done on the scene of a criminal investigation, if you suffer from chronic procrastination, you can find traces to its control over you in the deeper feelings, subconscious beliefs, and internal dialogue within your own mind.

A procrastinator’s self-talk usually travels along the lines of:

>> “Look at me, here I go messing things up again…

>> “What the hell is wrong with me??? Why can’t I get this right?

>> “I’m just stupid…stupid, stupid, stupid.”

>> “See, I knew this would happen. Why do I even bother? Just forget it…”

If any of these statements sound familiar, the following cycle of behavior should sound familiar as well: (1) you get inspired to do something, (2) you make a minor attempt at it, (3) you experience a small setback, (4) you lose motivation, postpone and (5) you withdraw, only to beat yourself up about procrastinating continously after the fact.

businessman with arms crossed I know this to be the case because that’s the strongest form of productivity such self-talk can engender, and likewise, it’s important you learn to detect procrastination in the subtle, internal dialogue that transpires invisibly, so as to root it out preemptively before it commandeers your actual behavior.

Procrastination is a lot like a white-collar criminal in that she requires anonymity and secrecy in order to operate, and finds this secrecy in the hidden attitudes and unconscious beliefs you hold about your ability. Therefore, before she “strikes again” and performs “identity theft” as you set out to conquer future goals, major projects or any lifestyle change, perceive her signs in the subtle way you feel about, think of and speak to yourself.

Here’s a Few Hints…

Dr. Neil Fiore, PhD, author of The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play says, “the self-talk of procrastinators often centers around feelings of victimhood, burden and resistance to authority.”

Victimhood – a subtle sense of suffering or being the sacrificial target of cosmically-planned adversity and misfortune – leads one to an overt sense of hopelessness and futility. Someone who internalizes feelings of victimhood will almost always remain hesitant, ambivalent or otherwise prone to procrastinatory habits because, in essence, they’ll feel themselves incapable of altering their predestined, tragic fate.

Burden – a subtle sense of overbearing duty, limitless strain and unjust obligation – leads one to an overt sense of tyranny and oppression. Someone who internalizes feelings of burden will almost always remain hesitant and ambivalent because it’s their only way of rebelling and expressing independence.

Businessman leaning on desk

And lastly, resistance to authority, similar to burden, is a passive-agressive response against feeling forced, compelled or coerced. In Chapter 2 of my book, How to Conquer Yourself, I say…

“Underlying this unproductive behavior is a need for autonomy – the need to feel one has some sense of control and say in his own existence.

Whenever someone’s forced to do something against their will, they tend to do it poorly, slowly, carelessly, haphazardly or not all, as inefficiency then becomes their only means of expressing dissent. Here, procrastination, rather than a coping mechanism in response to anxiety, is thus a form of passive-aggression: an indiscreet way of getting back at those who order you around simply because you have no other alternative.

If, as a child, you never experienced a sense of personal freedom, as an adult, you’ll never approach tasks with a sense of ownership, enterprise or personal initiative either.”

So again, “the self-talk of procrastinators often centers around feelings of victimhood, burden and resistance to authority.” Procrastination has a distinct attitude to it which, a lot like criminal forensics, leaves its trace in the internal-dialogue and emotional patterns of those she burglarizes…in the thought-process of innocent victims subconsciously robbed of their ambition and focus.

For more on the deep, inner-workings of procrastination, as well as steps on how to replace those feelings with their antithesis, which is an attitude of personal choice and empowerment, check out my book, How to Conquer Yourself: Discipline & Willpower for the Conscious, Creative Thinker, now.

Take care,

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