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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

Olympic-sized Inspiration

I love the Olympics. I remember as a child first understanding what the Olympic games were all about: triumph, perseverance, hard work, excellence, focus, and dedication. It was probably the first sense of awe I ever experienced. There is so much about what it means to be a human and our seemingly limitless potential that is represented in this epic event. The Olympics serve as a source of inspiration. I know I will never be an athlete of that caliber. Still, it is hopeful and electrifying to think, “if they can do that, what can I do?” The world feels bigger and more exciting when I’m witnessing such amazing feats. We all have something of significance to contribute to this world. The challenge is to continue over time to remember this fact. The Olympics are a symbol of the greatness     . . . read more

Stepping Back

One of the things I love about summer is that the pace of life slows down. There are more opportunities for recreation and leisure. It just feels right to sit on the porch in the evening, as if that counts as an activity. There is a little more room to breathe. I think summer is a good time for therapy. There is room in this season to sit back and reflect. Therapy is an opportunity to get a small time-out from regular life. It can be the pause button in an otherwise hectic schedule. Maybe it is not as fun as a relaxed summer vacation, but it can function as a little oasis for the self. We all need some time and emotional distance to survey our life. We benefit from having some time to see ourselves as reflected by     . . . read more

Letting Go of Outcomes

I’ve learned, mostly the hard way, that I don’t know what the best outcome is for another person. That probably sounds weird for a therapist to say. There is a general sense that you go to therapy for someone to tell or “guide” you to a particular outcome. But that’s not really the best use of therapy. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that it is not what the outcome is that matters, it’s how people get there and how they ultimately feel about it. Does it fit into some unhelpful old framework or does it represent a new and stronger narrative? I don’t know if you should stay married or get divorced. I don’t know if you should major in neuroscience or engineering. But I do know that what you tell yourself about this decision and what it means     . . . read more

Very Curious

I know the saying about the cat, but really I’m interested in who killed curiosity. I could probably blame standardized testing or the ability to know all instantly with the internet. Regardless of the suspect(s), I would like to advocate for regaining some respect for this concept. For me, curiosity is a way of approaching the world. I believe it in our nature. We spend the first many years of life constantly wondering about the world, testing our theories, making careful observations. We drop food off of the high chair and observe the splatter. We figure out just the right ways to get our parents to react to us. Play is the primary way in which we find out about the world. Experimenting with everything and anything, we learn very quickly. Also noteworthy: play and curiosity are FUN. I regained     . . . read more