People all around the world are out doing productive things right now. You can be one of them if you choose to be.
The first step is to stop telling yourself these unproductive lies:
1. I can’t.
Truth be told, the only person who can tell you “you can’t” is you. If you hear these words echoing in the back of your mind, tune them out.
Your faith can move mountains and your doubt can create them. Self-doubt is the number one enemy of personal growth. It is only when you shed your apprehension about your own capabilities and self-worth that you realize how much you are capable of, and that YOU CAN in fact do it.
In the end, your doubts and your faith have something in common. They both ask you to believe in something you can’t see; you simply have to decide which one you want to believe.
2. A good idea is all it takes.
Doing nothing gets you nothing.
An idea isn’t going to do anything for you until you do something with it. In fact, as long as that great idea is just sitting around in your head it’s probably doing far more harm than good. Your subconscious mind knows you’re procrastinating. Work that you keep postponing to complete causes stress, anxiety, fear, and usually more procrastination – a vicious cycle that continues to worsen until you interrupt it with ACTION.
Progress is measured by the fact that you’ve taken new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly made any progress.
3. I’ll get that done tomorrow.
Successful people have a habit of doing the things today that lazy people plan for tomorrow.
The greatest enemy of productivity is the false belief that somehow tomorrow is a better day to get something done. This is a cold, hard lie. You’ll feel the same way tomorrow and this ‘better tomorrow’ will never come.
Your real problem, then, is not your ability today, but your mindset. You must realize that ‘tomorrow’ doesn’t exist – it never will. The only guaranteed opportunity you have is the one you’re living now. This moment is life. There is no day but today.
And if you do today what others won’t, and you’re lucky enough to see another morning, you will wake up with the ability to do what others can’t.
4. I don’t feel comfortable yet.
If something makes you a bit nervous and uncomfortable, it means you’re doing it right and growing. All productive growth occurs outside of your comfort zone.
Your uneasy feelings are just anxiety and fear attempting to get in your way. Anxiety is nothing but an inner fear that repeatedly forces you to re-experience a failure before it ever happens. It’s a wasteful illusion. Accept the fact that your fears don’t stop anything bad from happening – they stop life.
So get comfortable with feeling a bit uneasy. Your desire to succeed must overpower your fear of tragedy. After all, random events in your life will always spark subconscious feelings of anxiety and fear. How you respond is all you can consciously control. Concentrate on that, and you’ll always be more productive.
5. My best work just isn’t good enough.
Whenever you get involved in a project that moves you, it’s natural to feel overwhelmingly critical of your work. This happens because you have good taste for the work at hand. You have a vision about how the end result should look, feel, or function.
There’s often a learning curve and a gap that exists between where your work quality currently is and where you expect it to be. Your taste tells you that your current output isn’t good enough yet – it’s trying to be good, but it just doesn’t taste right yet.
But it’s this good taste you have for your work that got you into it in the first place, and the reason you want it to be a certain way. This fact is priceless. It’s called passion and drive. Don’t let your desire to be better than you are deter you from the process of learning and growing into your best self.
You will get there eventually. It just takes practice. If you are still in this phase, understand that it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is to keep doing your work. It is only by doing more work that you will perfect your skill level and close the gap between your good taste and the quality of your output.
6. It’s better to quit now and cut my losses.
As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It is courage to continue that counts.”
Persistence is the mother of all productive effort. Failures, small and large, happen every day to the best of us. The strongest, most productive people aren’t the people who always succeed, but the ones who don’t give up when they lose.
In the heat of the moment when you feel like quitting, think about how far you have come and why you started in the first place. Oftentimes you’re a lot closer to making a breakthrough than you think. Some people give up their efforts when they have almost reached their goal; while others, on the contrary, conquer their goals by exerting, up until the very last possible second, more vigorous efforts than ever before.
Bottom line: Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit – KEEP GOING!
7. All pain is bad.
No matter how hard you try, you can’t completely escape pain – you can’t escape one of the essential constituents of growth. But you do still have a choice; you can give in to pain and give up or you can work through it, persevere, and gradually grow into your most desired goals.
Pain is part of the journey; your evaluation of it and what you do with it is a choice. Each painful problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem.
Ultimately, your greatest successes will be the byproduct of recognizing a painful problem that exists and turning it into an opportunity.
8. Structure and consistency isn’t important.
Your ability to set clear, realistic goals and then to discipline yourself to work toward them every single day for a set time, will do more to guarantee your success than any other method of productivity.
It is this consistent, focused effort that allows you to go from ground zero to surpassing those who started long before you.
9. It’s too late.
Wrong, it’s never too late to choose differently and make something new happen.
It’s an obvious point to many, but sometimes you have to say it out loud: “I will create a better future by creating a better me right now.” This moment is a new beginning. Complaining about squandered time and lost opportunities from the past is pointless; you can’t do anything about these things.
Your future is immediate. Grab it with both hands and carry it forward with you. When you come up on a roadblock and are faced with the choice of sitting down and doing nothing or doing something to make further progress, choose the latter. Think, work, climb if you have to – keep moving your future forward.