´ What Failure Alerts us to -
December 27, 2014

Strategy Obstruction

When stripped of all judgment and hurt failure to do or achieve something is information. Feeling guilty or disappointed and blaming yourself is understandable but probably the least helpful response. We often look for how-to information because the process is the easiest piece of the puzzle to solve: others have gone before you so if only you copy them things will work out. If only you had the tools everything would work out fine. Also we know where to find this kind of information.

Except information and tools are abundant nowadays and if you can read this, you have the internet at your disposal, so a lack of information is most likely not the issue.

Failure and procrastination can communicate different things:

  • I actually don’t care about this very much (although the rest of the world does)
  • I care so much that I prefer to not do anything than to fail
  • Something else needs to be taken care of before this can happen
  • I know exactly that I am very fast but I can’t admit that to myself or others so I make a big show of my last-minute dash
  • This has not worked in the past so I won’t even start
  • While I may want the outcome I don’t want to do the work to get there (here a tool might actually help)

Each of these reasons has a different solution:

  • if you don’t care you need the courage to quit or not start at all
  • if you care too much you need to find strength in past successes, accept your fears and learn to deal with them and plan how to proceed
  • address first things first
  • understand that your brain is already working on the solution which is why you can finish the whole piece of work guilt-free in a very short time without all the surrounding drama
  • reframe the past and honestly distinguish between rational fears which alert you to real risks and emotional fear which tries to protect you from negative emotions
  • a tool that can do the work that you are too lazy to do

I take my fears and hesitations seriously by not just trying to get rid of them the way our culture teaches us. That means it can take a while until I figure things out. But when I do things flow in a way that they just don’t if you treat the symptom instead of the root cause.

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