Procrastinating On What We Care About

We only procrastinate on the things that really matter to us.

I’ve been procrastinating on writing almost every day of this writing challenge so far, and it’s because I want so badly to write well. I want to write things with meaning, from inspired places, that connect with people. I want to create good things for the world.

And I wince thinking of the opposite, of trying and failing. Or more precisely, of putting myself out there and being rejected. Of being only mediocre.

I could probably learn to be more okay with rejection, with whatever seems negative about the concept of failure.

I don’t know if I’m as okay with my own mediocrity, but I think that’s just something that has to be part of the growing process. Nobody is born with the mastery and wisdom that comes with time and experience. Nobody gets to skip the process of working to get better at their craft.

We forget that there isn’t an end point. Everything is relative. There won’t be a day where I wake up and there isn’t more to work on, something else to improve on. So my writing must be like that too – even if I devote my life to it, it will never feel perfect to me, except perhaps in fleeting, inspired, beautiful moments where the right words come perfectly – and amazingly, I’ve already had tastes of that feeling!

I don’t think life requires us to toil forever without seeing the fruits of our labors, without getting hints of what we’re capable of. But we do have to put our attention, our focus, and our nurturing energy on the things we want to improve… and then, like seeds in a garden, they grow.

On the flip side, if we neglect our garden, it will become overrun with weeds. It wouldn’t be the end of the world to let this happen… for nature is beautiful, and just observing is part of the joy of life. It’s just a choice. Are you an observer or a creator? Do you want to live in a field of weeds, or create a garden?

Part of what procrastination is, is we don’t trust ourselves. When we work on things, we put ourselves into the world, and we leave a fingerprint. Sometimes we convince ourselves that playing small is safer. We’ll leave less of a mark. We’ll do no harm.

Personally, when I indulge that mindset, I slowly wilt. My insecurities grow and overcome me. I feel weak.

At least, if I try to write, I’m feeding the part of my soul that wants to write well. I’m feeding the dream instead of letting it die. I have to believe that makes me stronger. Even if my writing falls flat, even if no one reads it, even if some days I don’t like the words that come out, even if I struggle to find my voice, even if I feel writer’s block choking me, even if I ache for inspiration some days and don’t feel it, even if I have to work hard and it doesn’t come easily… it’s still better than accepting failure before I’ve even tried.

Another way of putting it: are you in the habit of feeding your dreams or your fears? Where do you expect that habit will take you?

So friends, (and my future self, if you’re reading this), don’t put it off. Put your pen to the paper and see what comes out. Give yourself a chance to fail, so you can learn and get better. If it was easy, we would have been done with it already. Nothing that truly matters is easy. And nothing that we truly want is worth skipping over for fear of our failures.

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