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Warning: Believing These 10 Famous Myths Might Be Making You Dumb

Warning: Believing These 10 Famous Myths Might Be Making You Dumb

You want to improve your life.

You wouldn’t be reading Lifehack if you didn’t.

But you might be shooting yourself in the foot if you believe any of these growth-stunting famous myths.

1. Life should be how you want it to be.

You have this idea in your head, a script, of how your life is supposed to be. But it’s not happening that way.

And you hate that.

That’s because you’ve bought into the myth that life should be how you want it to be rather than accepting life as it is.

There’s nothing wrong with goals and forward motion in your life.

But your life is happening now. Engage it, learn from it, experience it.

Not experiencing your life because it’s not how you want it is making you dumb.

2. Life is linear rather than a spiral.

This myth, which is rampant in our American society, says that we should always be progressing forward in an upward, straight line.

However, this doesn’t leave much room for the normal bad habits and problems that we struggle with from time to time.

You see, life is much more like a spiral than a straight line. We move forward but eventually return to the same spot where those struggles keep popping up.

Instead of getting down on yourself about them, remember that you have been moving forward, it’s just that it’s the time on your path when you need to work on those issues again.

You’re moving up and around at the same time.

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3. We should be happy all the time.

At least, that’s what the Self-Improvement sections of bookstores would have you believe.

The reality is that happiness is a fleeting emotion just as all emotions are. The emotions that tend to be more constant are feelings of contentment and ease.

Happiness is great, but it’s not something we are going to experience all the time.

I wish you much happiness, but I also wish you wouldn’t put yourself under the pressure of thinking that something is wrong with you if you’re not happy. You’re just human.

4. Resisting something is the best way to overcome a crisis.

Not so much.

Although the natural response to a crisis or even a fairly routine problem is to resist it, that behavior only drains your energy and reduces your ability to problem-solve effectively.

The best approach is to accept, rather than resist, what is happening.

This doesn’t mean that you are giving up. It just means that you are being realistic about what is in front of you.

It means that you are working within the crisis rather than against it. This is like walking downstream to cross a river rather than walking upstream against the current.

Resisting is a very natural, human response, but it’s dumb.

Learning to accept the bad with the good in our lives is smart.

5. Being hard on yourself is the only way to get motivated.

For some reason, many of us will listen to that Inner Critic, that nasty voice in our heads, because we think it’s the only way that we’re going to get anything accomplished.

After all, if we weren’t hard on ourselves, how would we get anything done?

Perhaps we could try being nice. Not just to others, but to ourselves as well.

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There are tons of motivational tips out there that focus on rewarding yourself rather than whipping yourself to accomplish goals.

Challenge the myth that your Inner Critic is right and try something new. And kinder.

You’ll be surprised at what a little kindness can do for you.

6. Self-compassion is for wimps.

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!

Man up!

None of this namby-pamby self-compassion stuff! Don’t be a wimp!

Actually, research has shown that self-compassion isn’t wimpy.

Being kind and empathic to yourself results in a healthier, more productive life than being self-critical. And research also shows that self-compassion increases a stable sense of security and self-worth.

So next time you are being harsh with yourself, ask yourself if you would treat a friend that way.

It’s okay to treat yourself as you would your best friend.

7. You can get back to your old self after a crisis happens.

“I just want life to get back to the way it was.”

I hear this a lot when people are in the middle of grief or another kind of crisis.

But the truth is, you won’t be the same person you were before the crisis happened.

And that’s okay.

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You may find that you are more sensitive to others who are in crisis and more thoughtful about your own habits and behaviors.

While you won’t be exactly the same as you were before life’s storm blew your way, you might actually find that you’re a little better.

8. Your thoughts are always true.

Our minds are constantly going.

Constantly.

It’s easy to listen to all of that chatter and, because it emanates from you and your mind, believe it.

However, your thoughts aren’t always true.

Your inner chatterbox may tell you that you’re a worthless piece of crap.

Just because you thought it doesn’t make it true. You’re not a worthless piece of crap.

Maybe you’re struggling right now, but we all struggle at times. It’s part of the human condition.

Don’t let your own irrational and unrealistic thoughts make you dumb. Cull out the productive, kind thoughts from those that are destructive and cruel.

You don’t have to believe everything you think.

9. My life will be better when ______ happens.

What are you waiting for?

What happens if fill-in-the-blank never happens?

“When I retire my life would be better.”

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Okay. Well, my friend Cathy retired and then she died several months later.

“My life would be better if I had more money.”

Maybe. But how much is enough? Will you let your life go by while you are vainly struggling and waiting for the mystical “more” to happen?

You get the idea.

Life is in front of you right now.

Don’t wait to live it.

10. If I work hard enough, things won’t change in my life.

Change is inevitable.

You know this but do you know it?

Have you taken it into your core and made change a regular part of your life, a routine?

You don’t have to like change, but you need to not resist it.

The myth that you can outrun change is making you dumb. Be smart and allow change to work its magic where it can.

 

Need to bounce back in life? Download my FREE ebookBounce Back! 5 keys to survive and thrive through life’s ups and downs.

Featured photo credit: the girl in the wood looks up via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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