To fully appreciate the reason we procrastinate, it’s important to distinguish between our present and future selves. They coexist, but are always in conflict with each other. There’s a continuous disconnect between them because they’re driven by entirely different things.
The Present Self is attracted to activities that promise immediate gratification. The Future Self is interested in activities that promise a “payoff” down the road.
For example the Future Self is willing to exercise to get into shape. The Present Self would rather sit on the couch and watch television.
Once you understand the disassociation between these two parts of your identity, you’ll fully appreciate the individual reason you delay taking action.
Fear plays a significant role in our tendency to procrastinate. It manifest in various eays, but on of the strongest is through fear of failure.
We hesitate to act because we’re fearful of doing something wrong. Or we fear that our actions will deliver poor results. And importantly, it doesn’t matter whether our presumed failure happens privately or publicly. Both are unpleasant outcomes, and many of us will go to great lengths to avoid them.
This fearfulness can stem from a number of things. For example, lack of familiarity with a given task or process may cause us to hesitate. This unfamiliarity makes the outcome of our actions more uncertain, which exacerbates our fear of failure. We end up deliberating whether it’s necessary to act immediately or if the task in question can be delated.
Our fear of failure may also be prompted by a past experience that was embarrassing or traumatic in some way. For example, suppose you once bombed while speaking in front of a large or even a small audience. This experience was embarrassing for you, enough so that it has become ingrained in your memory.
Fear of failure can also surface as the resulted of repeated indoctrination about a presumed inability to do something. For example, a child told over and over that she might a terrible student might grow up to fear taking exams.
How To Overcome Fear Of Failure
First, realize that fear of failure is part of human nature. Our egos are entwined with our ability to succeed at whatever we pursue.
Second, redefine the meaning of failure as it relates to your life. Rather than defining it as the result of a character flaw, redefine it a s simple feedback that a given action or tactic isn’t working. Once you do so, you can come up with a different approach that has a greater chance of success.
Third, consider that some of the world’s most successful people failed miserably at various points in their lives. Their failures didn’t stop them from achieving greatness.
To overcome fear of failure, think about the worse possible outcome. It’s probably not as bad as you image. Then, redefine what failure means to you. Consider how you might leverage it – remember it’s just feedback – rather than letting it stop you from taking action.