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There is No Failure

I believe that failure is an unhelpful concept. I’m not even convinced it’s a real thing. In my mind, it belongs in the category of make-believe creatures along with unicorns, dragons, and the Easter Bunny. Recently, Seth Godin (marketing genius and writer whose lessons surprisingly generalize to many areas of life), made a very wise point in his post, Just the good parts. He feels that when you hit bumps in the road, like a bad break or rejection, “It means that you’re doing worthwhile, difficult work, not merely amusing yourself.” I would add to this and assert that you can’t have success without so-called failure. In my assessment, there is no way to “fail.” Life is not graded. You can’t get an F. There is showing up and participating, making choices, being accountable, and doing our best. Or there     . . . read more

Can People Really Change?

I’m always a little surprised when I’m asked, “Can people really change?” Yes, people can really change. And if you’ll excuse the double negative, I’d say people can’t not change. While I’m not an expert on too many things, my humble observation is that everything changes. All the time. I don’t know about you, but I wake up older everyday. I know about homeostasis but I think it’s to keep us on some even keel as we experience change around us at every moment. Change happens, whether you believe you are in charge of it or not. If you don’t believe you are driving your own life, then change happens, you just didn’t give it much intention or direction. That’s a waste, because I really think we know what’s best for our own lives. So it bums me out when     . . . read more

The Truth About Procrastination

I have always heard from self-proclaimed procrastinators that they “need the pressure in order to perform.” I used to accept this as a legitimate reason to procrastinate, feeling that if it works for people then it’s fine. But somewhere down the line, this way of reasoning has lost its validity. Now I say to you procrastinators everywhere, “Procrastinate if you want, but you don’t need the pressure, you choose it.” So there. I’m calling you out on this one because I care. Really, I do. I’ve already outlined all the reasons I believe procrastination sucks the life out of you. Time to take away its power. I’ve put my health correspondent on the task of compiling all the research studies of how procrastination makes you ill. But for now, you’ll have to accept antidotal evidence that it just isn’t good     . . . read more

Pre-start to Prevent Procrastination

It’s back to school week here in lovely Portland, Maine. Whether you are a student or not, it seems like an appropriate time to revamp work habits. Last week I detailed my dislike of procrastination and this week I think it is high time we do something about it. It’s easy. My first piece of advice for addressing procrastination is to know how to get started. Actually, I’m not even going to make you start, only pre-start. It’s like preschool for procrastination. It gives you a solid foundation and it’s pretty easy. Really. Take 2-5 minutes to get the drift. The idea behind pre-starting is that you simply take 2-5 minutes to understand what the project, assignment, or duty is that you need to complete. Pre-starting means that from the moment you know about an assignment or some other thing     . . . read more

Why I Hate Procrastination

Procrastination is not about being lazy. It is not about being complacent. In fact, most procrastinators care very much about how things turn out. Procrastination is a way to avoid the fear of failure until the last possible moment. Then we say, “Oh, of course I did badly, I didn’t have enough time.” Or we just do good enough, so our best possible work goes undone and not judged by others. Procrastination is a fear-driven behavior. It is the opposite of going all in. Another problem with procrastination is that it provides all of the stress on the mind and body of actually doing the work, without any of the reward. We spend our time and energy thinking about the work we should/want to/need to do. We worry about when and how we will do it or how it might     . . . read more