A Personal Confession
At lunch, I told my wife I thought I’d clean my office before working on “the book.”
She laughed hysterically. She laughed so much that I started laughing too.
When she finally stopped, – after starting and stopping several times – I said, “I didn’t think it was that funny.”
She said, with complete honesty and incredulity, “You’d rather clean your office than work on your book? You hate cleaning your office.” Then, she started laughing hysterically again. She laughed so hard that I laughed along, but, with a little less gusto.
Why would I chose something I hate over something important?
- The things I care most about, I put off the most.
- Failing at what doesn’t matter is easier than failing at something that matters deeply.
- I let the urgent postpone the meaningful.
- The more something reflects who I am, the harder it is to do.
I’m not a complete loser. I know how to be disciplined and work hard. I’m a farm boy from Maine. We understand things like that. But, it’s so much easier to work hard when failure doesn’t matter.
Do something where failure matters.
Maybe you know what I mean. Perhaps you:
- Write emails rather than connecting personally.
- Eat cake rather than addressing nagging problems.
- Complain and blame rather than shut up, get up, and actually do something.
- Chose jokes to saying what you really mean.
The rest of the story:
My wife doesn’t normally lose it when I share my thoughts. But, we’d recently listened to, “The War of Art,” by Steven Pressfield. He describes my preference for office cleaning to a tee. Now I wish we’d listened to a safer book. Something that didn’t apply.
There’s no list of suggested behaviors on today’s post, just a confession.
Don’t miss the great Facebook responses to, “The reasons for procrastination include _________.” (8/27/13)
Love the War of Art. I’ve got a book in the procrastination stages too.
Thanks Karin. Misery loves company, I think!
Pretty soon I am going to read that procrastination book….
You are not alone. But of course, you knew that. Going to look up that book right now. Even coaches benefit from coaches. 🙂
Highly recommended Mark. You are so right, even coaches need coaches. Mine is Bob Hancox.
come clean my office when your done.
Can’t! I’m cleaning mine today.
My house was never so clean as when I was working on my Masters Degree and needing to write papers.
Today my most important goal is to make progress on marketing my book. I find it easier to write books than market them. But my office is a mess. Obviously I hate to clean my office but it is a more lovable hate than marketing.
Every ONE of us sees ourselves in this post Dan. That is your gift. Thank your wife for laughing. Wives are so wise. Don’t forget that.
Thanks Dauna. Thanks for sharing that opening line.
I’m so thankful for my wife. She is wise.
Wow, does this hit home. The things I care about the most are most often the things that I put off, knowing that they will take a lot of time, effort, collaboration and creative thinking. These are all things that I don’t take lightly, indeed, I treat very passionately.
Thank you Dan for the reminder that we need to Dare Greatly (which is a really good book by the way)! And I agree with the other contributors, you are in good company!
Thanks and I couldn’t agree more! Daring Greatly is awesome.
I believe confession reliefs us from holding anything that could be harmful. Confession is the letting go our ignorance. We often tend to hide things in order to appear right. And we make many justifications for that. Many a times, we create perception of being treated or seen differently when facts are known. So, we tend to hold anything in us. On the other hand, revealing or telling or confessing removes our perceived fear.
I also think, we create our own judgement of what to disclose and what not to disclose. While it could be good concept, it could be burdensome as well. What we think always may not be true to what others think about us. And we do not want to let down in the eyes of others. This could be our perception. But this could be contrast. By confessing, we can increase our image.
I do believe that anythings that we feel is our weakness should be accepted before it keeps on haunting for long. When confessing such weaknesses, we start working on it to turn into our strengths.
Thanks Ajay. They say confession is good for the soul.
I read a wonderful post by Jeremie Kubicek where he said that the way to overcome insecurities is to expose them.
Hi Ajay, I have found for me identification/confession is helpful BUT
No where as near as helpful as surrender.
In AA we take a moral inventory(id) step 4, then step 5 confess.
They step 6 became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Then 7 Humbly asked Him to remove the defects of character.
It is that action after the confession that matters. If I got rotten trash in my kitchen what good does it do to confess that to you? You can smell it already. I got to follow the confession with the action of taking out the trash.
For me I find it more useful to identify, confess and then take the action necessary to remove the trash out of the kitchen.
Just what works for me, confession not nearly enough.
SP back to the present
Appreciate the words Dan. When my wife sees me doing the dishes without encouragement she knows I am doing the same thing 🙂
Thanks Jeff. I bet she hopes you procrastinate more! 🙂
Just bought the kinle version of the book, looking forward to help siliencing those naysayers of which I am chief!
Enjoy! If you think of it, drop by and tell me what you think.
That base fear of failure keeps us from so many things, Dan! Thanks for expressing it, bringing it out of the shadows. Now I have faith that you’ll put it to rest and get that book done! Looking forward to reading it.
Thanks Justin. Sadly, the fear of failure has been the cause of many a failure. Best
Dan, What a joy it is to get to work and read your posts. I don’t get to them everyday,but when I do, it seems like you are speaking directly to me/about me/for me.
I, too, put off doing things that I love, could be it’s fear of failure. Or maybe it’s fear of completion? If i complete this goal, what will I do then?
You’ve inspired me (yet again) to make a more determined focus towards a few of my goals.
Thanks Sandy. Appreciate the addition of fear of completion. 🙂
Well, judge not so you are not judged. The way I judge is the way I perceive I am judged, really simple. The way I judge myself included. I am ridiculously easy on me and Gods other kids! You?
If I have a harsh judging view of the world, myself and God I assume everyone else does too. If I choose to see the world this way I keep running into folks validating my core belief! Funny how that works.
If I got a cockeyed optimistic view of the world, I interpret others have the same too. When I run into someone who don’t I just figure they are confused. So what! I was!
Cause and effect, karma whatever one wants to call it. Spiritual Law.
I have had a psychic change about winning and failing. I do not need to read any books, talk to anyone, watch any videos. I need to get quiet and look deep within me. That is where the magic is.
Things, if you will, have a beginning, a middle and an end. No need to place judgement on those experiences. Just enjoy them all! I can if I want to if I have decided that is how the world makes sense to me BUT THAT IS MY CHOICE OF PERCEPTION, NO ONE ELSES! As a Man Thinketh!
God put himself in a crown and then took it away. Three fellas were pondering where he would hide it.
First Dude says at the Highest Mountaintop, but the three discussed it and said Mankind will look and look and look and find it there.
Second Dude said he put it at the deepest depth of the ocean. Once they again talked it over and realized there Mankind will once again find it there too.
The third fella said how bout if God put it deep inside each of his kids. They will NEVER think to look for it there. Closer than their next breath! Yeah they all agreed this would be Gods best hiding place.
So we spend lots of time in our lives looking outside ourselves for meaning and validation. Problem is IT DONT EXIST OUT THERE!
This Spiritual being having a human experience thingy is an inside job. Always has been and will always be. We will exhaust every other available choice but THAT till we completely convince ourselves the search outside ourselves is futile.
I suggest Spiritus Contra Spiritum, I suggest a Spiritual not religious experience. A Vital One! Working for me think it will work for you. Google it!
Shifterp Back to the Present in Left Field
“And Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some fact of my life unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in Gods world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober, unless I accept life completely on lifes terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes”.
Dr Paul AA Big Book
yeah ya think this Book is about not drinking, not hardly!
Thanks Scott. I used to belittle ideas about self-reflection. No more. I haven’t gotten to the place where I think I’m God. I believe God is other. However, getting to know who I am is respecting what God created. Getting to know others is respectful of God too.
Very very well said!
Gods other kids are the coolest!!!
SP back the the present waiting on me in left field! I experience we are an eachness in the allness of God. Wherever God is I am, Wherever I am, God is. Unity, Practical Christianity is cool, the Popes art collection, not so much!!! Hehe
I’m working on a book, and didn’t clean my office last couple of weeks. Well, I was writing, until I saw the email on your blog, and had to react 😉 Now I have to back to work!
Thanks for the laugh Dan 🙂
Hey Ben. Here’s to messy offices! 🙂
How telling that so many of us are responding so quickly (avoiding our own writing projects?)
I’ve actually painted a good portion of rooms in our home in avoidance of writing, even after getting estimates on the cost. How much easier to justify the procrastination when saving so much moulah! : )))
Thanks for pulling back the curtain, where so many of us are hiding, Dan!
Thanks Donna. I’d really have to be in deep procrastination to paint a room before I wrote. 🙂
I wish I could say I didn’t have to make the same confession!
Don’t feel so bad now, knowing that I am part of such an esteemed group 🙂
Ok…misery loves company. 🙂
Great post, Dan! I think you hit on something, once again, we can all relate to.
I do want to say, sometimes I think you may be too hard on yourself. Clearly you feel you are procrastinating the bigger, more important task, for a smaller one. I don’t want to “let you off the hook”, but I do believe we often feel a sense of accomplishment when we do something small and tangible like organizing our office (although if your office is as messy as mine, this actually is no small feat!) Also, organizing your office may give you a sense of peace. As Gretchen Rubin says (author of “the Happiness Project”), “for me, outer order contributes to inner calm.”
After your office is in order, now your mind is free to work on the bigger, more meaningful stuff — like writing a book.
Perhaps Gretchin’s article on this subject will help give you a different perspective:
BTW, I picked up a book on overcoming procrastination… but I never got around to reading it. 🙂
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”—Albert Einstein
Ouch! Doing it right now. Thanks for the poke, Dan.
Onward… and best wishes.
Urgent postpones the meaningful…wow Dan, or the difference between a manager and a leader.
Thanks to you I really do have a stack of books to read…now if I just got off the computer! The pathos of it, is after reading one of the tomes, I do feel great, feel growth, feel more alive and recharged.
I hadn’t thought about the leader/manager contrast in this topic. Good call.
I think I’ve been through “The War of Art” 3 times now.
What’s awesome is the amount of responses – which means you hit on something so many of us can relate to. Is that a clue for future posts?
I think there are a couple of aspects of this post that make it different:
1. A personal confession
2. A common thing we all do, but don’t like to admit
3. You brought your wife into the story
4. It was told in story format
5. You referenced an excellent, iconic book
6. You included personal background info (farm boy from Maine.)
All in 300 words or less. Brilliant!
Thanks for you work, Dan.
Much appreciate your observations. You make me feel like I had a big plan. I think I’ll say I did.
Regarding future posts…I don’t plan that far ahead. But who knows. The best I can say is this topic has been on my mind for a few weeks.
This is pretty funny. I wanted to laugh along with you, because I do the same thing.
Having read so much lately along the lines of “it doesn’t matter how good your ideas are if you don’t have follow through” and I have been agonizing about that as I go through leaving this job and trying to career change to something more creative.
I have drive, and buckets of creativity and ideas, but I cannot handle the “drag” of waiting endlessly for my ideas to come to fruition. I want to have the brilliant idea for an invention, have an engineer or manufacturer say “OMG that’s amazing!” and have them run with my idea and make it real (after paying me a reasonable amount for the idea). But it’s just not like that. There’s SO MUCH slogging work, networking and (to my mind) begging hat in hand that has to happen for what feels like years before even a first step. I lose interest long LONG before that happens.
It’s demoralizing to read articles saying that my ideas (which, frankly, run circles around most people I work with and always have) and drive (ditto) to create, create, create supposedly isn’t valuable unless I’m personally capable of physically manifesting the end product myself without help or backup. Which in itself is demoralizing.
I hate not being able to see the fruition of my ideas, but it’s just less painful to deal with that, than with trying to make them happen. (As you can probably tell, I clean my office a LOT)… 😉
What a great comment, Andrea. That last line made me laugh out loud. Best wishes for the journey.
Dan, you crack me up with this one. Of course everything is relative – and if this is a debilitating issue – then we’re all in trouble! As you’ll find my wife is always cleaning up after me – until I read The Anatomy of Peace – now I’m trying to park some of my important work for what is important for her/us.
At the end of the day i guess it’s motivation – if we find ourselves motivated by ‘not doing’ – we intuitively know ‘it’s wrong’. Your wife calling your bluff is brilliant – it’s the best a friend can be – we’re too often not good at holding as mirror to ourselves.
Now – go clean up your book!
Love the dimension you added. “If we find ourselves motivated by ‘not doing’…” There’s always a place for not doing but when …
I can’t…I won’t…I don’t like…what we don’t want can’t answer what we do want.
That is a great book…I started a writing log blog thing because of it but sadly, quickly started to neglect it for less meaningful things. Why do we do this? Ugh! Great insight about doing things where failure matters; it’s so difficult to do because we have to stop for a minute and actually take an honest look at who and what we are right now, not where we’re headed or where we’ve been – right now. We are always in the process of becoming something better or more and stopping for introspection could bring us up short of our goals. I think it is important to discover what is truly meaningful to you and start from there…make it your job. The book says if you do the work…the muse will find you. Right?
I wonder if some of that is just trying to get the nagging things out of the way so that we can dedicate some quality time to our craft? You clean the office so that when you do sit down to your book the state of the office isn’t a distractor. Maybe? 🙂
Yup! Pressfield says do the work and the muse will find you. I’ve found that working to solve a problem rather than talking to solve it is the thing that opens the window for wisdom. Just get to work.
And… it’s true, removing distractions is important….like cleaning an office.
You’re not alone in that, Dan. Not at all. Thank you for sharing your personal story.
Thanks Paula… and keep up the good work.
Sometimes you read my mind, Dan. Thank you for be brave and share your thoughts.
Thanks Eneyda. Thanks for the encouragement. Continued success to you.
Wow, this went deep into my procrastination center. I am going to change me ways today. I don’t want to die realizing that I accomplished a lot of things that really don’t matter and I left a lot of things that matter deeply, undone.
Thanks Dan, for the kick in the pants!
Thanks Juanita. Thanks for, “I don’t want to die realizing I accomplished a lot of things that really don’t matter.” Cheers
Very good!! This reminds me of a quote I read some time ago and that I use frequently, “Never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate”.
Thanks JIm. It looks like your finger hangs on the shift key like mine. JIm… 🙂 Anyway, thanks for the quote. The immediate just seems so much easier.
Here is an idea that will certainly help anyone who really wants change.
Most find they don’t they just want to commiserate with others which is cool too. Your life do with it how you choose.
When trying to decide one may find misery doesn’t love company, it demands it.
Anyways. Procrastinators Anonymous. Yeah there is my gift to you all.
Just substitute the word procrastination everywhere u see alcohol.
The 12 Steps help anyone with any problem anytime as long as they follow the suggestions and have the capacity to be honest. You qualify?
SP back to left field with my present!!!
AAA should hire you, Scott. 🙂
Lol thank you kind sir!!!!
We have no leaders and the cofounders actually had a Plan!!!
Plus we attract don’t promote so not many jobs!!!
They were gonna start treatment centers and guess what? Had to have the book!!!! All BIG movementd in human history got their book, right!?? The inspiration to get with it was the dream of the treatment centers, not help folks!!!! Lol
God had other ideas! Bill was gonna travel around and direct the centers and dr bob was gonna be the medical director!!
Miraculous story how it all played out.
Anyways the way I see it that 12 Steps are Gods gift to all his kids brought to them by the low and meek in spirit.
Since I see it as a plan for succesful living why not share? Actually I am asked to carry the message and help if asked.
It really would help procrastinators!!! I wish just one of them here would look into it!!! Imagine the joy if they did and see it really was written just for them!!!
Anyway if u ever got an hour or two let me know and I can share an audio on the history. If nothing else if you ever ran into to anyone it might benefit you would have a frame of reference!!!!
Fascinating story staring with some kids vacationing together in New Hampshire and one thing led to another and Whamo. The 12 Steps!
This one guy Roland hazard. Rich family sent him to Carl Jung for help!!! It was his third choice!!! First Freud then Adler, third choice jung!!!!
Good thing Jung the only one open to a spiritual solution!!!! Good thing the other two were booked!!!! Or proof of God!!!
I like the latter.
Thanks for keeping it real, Dan. This meant so much to me today … I’ve been procrastinating in writing a book, and piddling around with lesser things. Urgent (or procrastinating) vs. meaningful – a target phrase for me today.
Thanks Dawn. What kind things to say. It’s a pleasure to be an encouragement. You encourage me.
Wow! You really have a doozy of a blog today, Dan! It is so insightful and incredibly helpful. You’re amazing and I thank you for your pearls of wisdom.
Thanks Michelle. I think the only reason it’s insightful is I’m such a screw up… 🙂
I know that feeling. I will list out 10-20 things I need to do in a day. I will not start with the most important but the ones which I know I can get done easily and without major brain effort. I love to check off the blocks and feel good about my list being almost done. We like to feel good in doing stuff….just not the important mind wrenching stuff. BUT…its better to clean the kitchen than go….you fill in the blank. Sometimes we have to do those small things which in the end settle our minds down and prepare us for the big things. It reminds me of my dog as a kid, who would turn in circles about 5-6 times in one place until he settled down for a nap. He had to do it..then he was ready.
My o my Dan. As one of my favorite Pastors used to say, “you just gave me a Christian punch in the mouth”. This is ‘so-o’ true. For those who have the knack of seeing through the fake facade’s many live behind, think of those in your life at work, home, church, and community that are models of constant busyness. At first glance one wonders how we could ever do without these folks. Till we get to know the true agenda behind their busyness. They lack self confidence and are unable to face advercity, the unknown, or heaven forbid, FAILURE! What a great cover-up,, “till your found out”. So, did ya get your office cleaned??? Later my friend
Dan – Your confession really resonated with me. I usually file or find someone else to “help”.
Really liked the story…
but tell me… could the morale of this story be similar to what i do (or perhaps not do)!!!
I start reading newspapers back to front, and complete emails that take less time than those that require more time! Same thing with my telephone messages, i start with the unimportant first!!!
Is this wierd!!!
Yeah… I have been accused of procrastinating!
a good lesson in such a simple way . marvellous
Thanks you for writing this, it helped me finally get started on something that means a LOT to me and thus is a bit scary to fail at.
This is well said.Thanks.
Good Article. A big issues for many of my executive clients.
Will share on my blog.
Hey Dan, As for writing ‘the book’ I get it, I’m grinding it out too! It’s hard – even painful! Sometimes I just need to stop and clean my office because it feels really good when I’m done – I’m back in control – ready to grind it out some more. From one Mainah’ to anothah’ – Just go for it!!
I can totally relate. And I didn’t even think to get the book on Audible. I just did. Thanks Dan!