The Dream Stealer and How to Stare it Down

As Steven Pressfield says in his seriously kickass book, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

He aptly names it “the most toxic force on the planet.”

I believe, if left unattended, Resistance can run your life and steal your dreams. It is a force; make no mistake, like magnetism or gravity. You can’t see it, but you feel its effect every time you begin.

Although Resistance abounds with creative ways to stop progress (like drama, like self-doubt, like rationalization) one of the ways it shows up for me is through procrastination.

There are kajillions of ideas running around in my head. I mind map them, I free write about them, I journal about them – but only a small number ever see the light of day. Thinking about those ideas is engaging.  It’s fun to fantasize about putting those webinars together, or designing a weekend retreat.  I know, however, that follow through involves effort and tenacity.

Instead, the urgency of email or social media grabs my attention, attached by the drug of immediate gratification, and the execution of that idea floats into the air like a dandelion puff.

Are you like that too?

Of course, the benefit of procrastination is that you never have to face the twin demons of planning and follow through. When your attention is here, it cannot be there.   If your mind is on your next Facebook post, then it isn’t on making new things or following through on your plans.

But that doesn’t get us very far, does it?

Well, I’m tired of it. Weary, really.  You too?

This month, I’m challenging myself to use the 2-minute Rule from James Clear, who studies habits and productivity. Maybe you’d like to play along with me?

Here it is:

  1. If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it now. This includes quick email responses, a short phone call, clearing the dirty dishes from the sink, hanging my clothes and all the other tidbit tasks that are so easily overlooked by the urgency of something else. Many tasks take only a minute; just bust it out. Do it now.
  2. Spend a minimum of 2 minutes getting started on all those new projects floating around in my head.  The thing is, once I spend 2 minutes getting started, it’s very likely I won’t stop till I’m finished. And if I don’t finish, I’ll make significant progress.

And that’s it. That’s the 2-minute Rule. Are you willing to give it a try?

Please take me up on it and comment below. I’d love to hear how procrastination shows up in your life and how you handle it.  (It takes only a minute; just bust it out. Do it NOW!)

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