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Just Listen To Yourself

Just Listen To Yourself


    How often do you have a really strong gut instinct and it proves to be wrong? How often do you override that instinct and then kick yourself later on? My guess would be that if you’re anything like the people that come to me for life coaching the answers are hardly ever and always.

    Everybody knows intuitively that they have solid instincts. I have never met anybody either professionally or socially that says. “My gut feeling is terrible, I’m always getting in a mess by listening to myself, what can I do about it?” How weird is that? It seems to me it’s a universal truth.

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    Although at this point I have to confess I only know a small percentage of people when we look at it from a global perspective. In fact, we are probably talking about 0.000005% of the population; so statistically speaking it’s about as accurate as a blind baseball pitcher with Meniere’s disease.

    Having said that, I’m prepared to bet that you don’t disagree with me. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that if you can honestly say you believe your gut instinct lets you down on a regular basis, drop me an e-mail and I’ll mail you a copy of my book with instructions on how to operate it, because you’re going to need them.

    The conscious human mind can only deal with 7 + or – 2 pieces of information at once. Until you read this sentence you almost certainly aren’t aware of your left foot. But hey, presto, now you are! Way to go on shifting your awareness like a Zen Master. If you lost your foot in a freak fairground accident last week I apologize for my lack of tact. I hope you can forgive me and please accept my best wishes for a speedy recovery hoppy.

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    The fact is, you have to constantly delete information from your conscious mind, otherwise you’d go into sensory overload. Try and do it now if you have any doubt. Place your awareness in your right hand, now your left hand too. Now move to your feet and remain aware of your hands. Easy? Maybe, but that’s still only 4, so try thinking about what your lower back feels like without letting your attention move from your hands. By now you will be starting to struggle, but if you’re not keep going and you soon will be.

    Think of your conscious mind as being like the RAM on your computer. It does lots of good stuff and it’s nice to have around and all that, but hey c’mon, it’s no hard drive! That is like the difference between your conscious and unconscious mind.

    Your unconscious mind can do lots of stuff easily without you ever having to intervene. I presume your heart is beating, your food is being digested, and you do not have to remember to blink your eyes or maintain your blood pressure, right? If not you maybe dead, so stop reading now and call for an ambulance and/or an undertaker.

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    What happens when you get a strong gut feeling is that your unconscious mind is trying to tell you what it thinks in the only way it knows how, with feelings. It can’t talk to you because it’s unconscious, hence the rather obvious name. It has done lots of calculations, looked at all the permutations, given it serious consideration and is now shouting “Whoa there big fella, it aint a great idea to poke that skunk with a stick” Of course the ‘shout’ can manifest itself in any number of ways. You may get sweaty palms, a nauseous feeling or just a sense of something not being quite right.

    So what do most people do when they get a strong gut feeling?

    That’s right, they override it. Because it doesn’t make logical sense on the surface, skunk poking notwithstanding, it tends to get dismissed.  A feeling is just that, a feeling, it can be hard to put into words. When we can’t explain logically why we think something is a bad or even for that matter a good idea, we can tend to either ignore it completely or use faulty logic to dismiss it out of hand.

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    Some people (kinesthetics) find to very easy to tune into their feelings, but truly kinesthetic people account for less than 15% of the population. If you’re not one of the lucky few then you’ll have to pay extra special attention. Tune in to your body more often and start to recognize the patterns an when it’s trying to tell you something.

    If your unconscious is saying don’t take that job, go on that date, poke that skunk – take heed. It knows what it’s talking about and it has your best interests at heart. The alternative it to disregard it as some weird nebulous feeling that’s come out of nowhere and almost certainly live to regret it.

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    Last Updated on September 16, 2019

    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.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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