I was talking with a friend the other day. He has been grappling with a tough decision for a period of time. I came back to him with the burning oil rig scenario. You are out in the Gulf of Mexico on a rig and there is an out of control fire. You can either jump into the shark infested waters or you can stay on the platform and probably burn to death. What would you do? There is no correct answer. But you must make a decision.
I can procrastinate with the best of them. I have also seen the best of them. In the real estate business I would watch a client meditate over a shade of off white for two weeks. We have a friend who asks everyone in sight their thoughts on something with the result being more confusion and stalling than ever. I’m thinking. I’m thinking. Leave me alone.
Barry and John Kerry are in the midst of a beauty. The Keystone Pipeline. We have had studies. We have had false starts. We now have the latest environmental impact on the Nigerian Gerbil in the far reaches of Nebraska. We have Canada saying please. We have Republicans and Democrats alike saying please. John Kerry says we are in no rush. Would one of you please make a friggin’ decision one way or another and let us get on with life.
How about immigration? First you say you do and then you don’t. This baby has been on the table since Ronald Reagan. We have at least 11 million illegals in the country. That is the combined sizes of New York City and Los Angeles. That may be true in more ways than one. But please boys and girls make a decision. They are not going to go away anytime soon. Talk about an elephant in the room. But yet we tarry.
What causes this. The roots are many and varied. Part of it is because our lives have become so complex. The cave men didn’t really mess around. If he didn’t hunt, the family didn’t eat. If he didn’t pick up his spear when the wild boar was onrushing there would be nothing else to worry about. As time wore on in Greece and Rome and courts throughout the world the decisions were made for you. You could even go so far as to say fifty years ago all you had to figure out was what tv channel you were going to watch. You got a gold watch, the wife watched the kids and we all lived happily ever after. That’s changed.
Stability has gone the way of the VCR. Every day you have say yes or no but we seem to be getting worse at it. Deep down we delay because we don’t want to fail and ergo look stupid. Our world keeps score with a magnifying glass and your every move is judged..or so it would seem. We would like to make a move based on expected results but the times are changing so fast we aren’t sure what they are. We amp all this up to finally decide that if I am wrong I am an imposter. A fraud. There is nothing worse. What will my wife and my kids and my beloved friends think? Okay I will just cogitate about it some more.
We have been taught that immediate gratification is the Holy Grail. If the end is not in sight then how will I know if I am right or wrong. Jeez Louise I have so many distractions. I want to feel the thrill of victory but only if it happens now. Not sure? Well it may be time to check emails or look at a magazine. This is heavy stuff I am working on. Need to think.
Then of course there is the thing we most hate to do. It is a decision that is looming up there in technicolor but is at the same time black and white. Oh boy if I do this you are going to despise me. You pace the floor. You vacillate. Maybe if you think harder there is a different solution. The cruel fact is until you finally do it you are not yourself. You are living a lie. You can come up with a lot more reasons why you shouldn’t but in the end you see the writing on the wall. Man the human condition is interesting isn’t it?
My wife is the most organized human being anywhere. If you ask her for something she can tell you not only the piece of furniture but what drawer and and what section of the drawer where it hides. But if she has to do something she doesn’t want she is totally out there. She forgets. She stutters. She stammers. She is in total denial. Finally after my nagging she flips me the international sign of distress and gets it done. And then of course she will tell you how easy it was. Nobody’s perfect but she is close.
I think we are all too hard on ourselves. Monumental things are like death or separation. The rest is not so important. Some of you are probably old enough to remember asking someone out for a date. One of life’s particularly trying moments in adolescence. Now whatever you have to decide in life could not be as heart wrenching as that.
We would do well not to worry about each other’s judgement. We should probably not set our expectations quite so high. That can be in losing weight, doing your taxes or taking a test. Just remember on anything thing you do there is probably a 50% chance you are doing the right thing. I think that is the thought you should hold and as for me I would jump in the water and take my chances.
Ted The Great.
People who procrastinate frequently may also have alcohol or drug dependency problems. Even if they don’t have a dependency issue, they might have trouble knowing when to say when.
Procrastination can stem from perfectionism. You keep going over and over something. You have to be perfect or you won’t be loved. This is sometimes brought on by parents where good isn’t good enough.
20% of the populace considers themselves serious procrastinators. They are late on everything including appointments and waiting until the last minute on paying bills, taxes etc. The even dawdle cashing paychecks. That was never my problem.