Procrastination is a form of self-torture. But, what lies beneath?

ProcrastrinationIf and When were planted, and Nothing grew.”   Proverb

Many years ago, I was an enthusiastic (but poor) canoeist.  At one point I knew every bend in the Liffey and Boyne rivers as we were out practicing most weekends.  On these wide, fairly slow moving rivers, canoeing is relatively safe. But one of the dangers is getting caught in a ‘stopper’, the spot at the bottom of a Weir where the water churns back on itself.  It’s possible for canoeists to get stuck in a stopper, upside down, underwater. When this happens it’s dark and disorientating and can be pretty dangerous.  Thankfully, most canoeists make it out of the turbulence. Some don’t and die.

Catch Up: I was reminded of this ‘getting stuck’ idea a while back when out for a beer with the ‘old gang’ I worked with in NCI.  The college was celebrating its 60th anniversary. We retired to the real Boardroom (the pub) when all the formal stuff was completed. One of the girls in the group had been dating a guy for 9 years – with no sign of an engagement ring.  That provided tons of material and we spent a good bit of the night slagging her.  All good humoured and good-natured; she’s great craic herself and was central to all of this (she subsequently got married, but we’re not claiming to have influenced this in any way!).

Getting Stuck: In the world of counselling, some people continually sabotage their own life. Through acceptance of a difficult situation or procrastination (a form of self torture) they tolerate bad situations on an ongoing basis, becoming ‘stuck’. Why? While there can be a myriad of reasons, one possibility is that people become ‘addicted to their own misery’. I know that language sounds harsh and judgmental – but the central thesis is valid.  By accepting a bad situation, a person becomes part of the problem, despite the fact that they may outwardly rail against the particular circumstance and continually moan about it (Google ‘Self-Sabotage’ the next time you have a few hours to spare and ‘read all about it’).

The Question: Is there something in your life which isn’t right but you’ve been accepting it? Understanding why you accept this is the first step to moving forward. Don’t follow the philosophy: Never put off until tomorrow, what you can put off till the day after! The technical term for that is as follows: It’s nuts. Don’t say: ‘Yes, I’m gonna take care of my procrastination issues. Just you wait and see’! You own your own mental health. You might need support from a friend or a professional, but ultimately, you own the responsibility for this for taking control of your own life. Benjamin Franklin said: “You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” (seriously, someone should put that man’s picture on the dollar).

If all of the above comes across as a bit ‘preachy’ remember this. The target audience for this blog is myself, a weekly reminder of things that I should be doing. I hope that there’s something in it for you too.

Until next week.


PS: Lighter Moment (from Kevin Griffin): 
A teddy bear is working on a building site. He goes for a tea break and when he returns he notices his pick has been stolen. The bear is angry and reports the theft to the foreman. The foreman grins and says “Oh, I forgot to tell you. Today’s the day the teddy bears have their pick nicked.” 

Loved that one? How about this: Mick and Paddy are reading headstones at a cemetery in the UK. Mick says:

“Jesus! There’s a bloke here who was 152!” Paddy Asks:

“What’s his name?” Mick replies:

“Miles, from London!”

Check our website or call 087 2439019 for an informal discussion about executive or organisation development.



About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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