Dealing with emotional discomfort
how to deal with your mind bullying you
Howdy readers! Welcome to another week in Procrastination City! Where all your dreams come to have a vacation.
Just kidding. I hope that January is treating you well.
My topic for this week is how to overcome the number one ally of procrastination.
It is not bad time management - although that can be a thing.
It is not a lack of motivation.
It is not laziness.
It is the almighty adversity to discomfort.
And not any discomfort, but the sneaky emotional discomfort.
Show of hands who among you, when doing something important to you, like writing a piece on substack, your mind starts talking to you?
And it goes something like this:
‘Ugh, I kinda don’t want to do this now. I wonder what’s the name of that actor who played the prosecutor on Billions?
Why is parsley important for your health? Let’s google it and find out.’
Did you ever think about why your mind is doing that to you?
It’s because doing something that involves some kind of discomfort is hard. And our minds want the simple and the comfortable.
So the tool for this week is this:
The next time you start preparing or writing something, or going to the gym, or any activity that is important to you but you keep postponing it, pay a bit of attention to what your mind is telling you about it:
I cannot do it right
Oh, but X specialist would do it better
Who am I to do this now? I am not smart/ fit/interesting/ inventive/ etc enough to do it.
I am a fraud and If I do it everybody will see that.
I will say something completely mediocre and nobody will care
I will give up - I am not a consistent person
I am not disciplined - I will just fall off the wagon if I try to keep this up
And the list may go on.
Now, write this down and keep a document close to you - whether in your Notes on your phone, in a Google Drive file, or just written on a piece of paper in your pocket.
This is the story that your mind is telling you.
It’s neither true nor false, it’s just a story.
Your goal now is not to debate it - it’s pointless, it will just keep coming back - but to become aware of it and treat it like a story, not like a thought to get stuck into.
Then, as unusual as it seems, before starting what you want to start - just read your list. Not in a sadistic way, but just to be mindfull of what your mind has to say about that.
Remember - your mind is not being an asshole, it just wants you to be safe so it “regurgitates” the stories that will help keep you safe and comfy.
Thay are probably stories that you heard in the past, or rules that your mind came up with in your experience. We’ll talk about how you mind comes up with these stories in another piece.
Next, write down why you want to do that important and difficult activity:
What does doing that mean to you?
What is it leading you to?
Does it turn you towards your values?
Make room. Now that you know your stories, make room for them.
It’s like scooching over to make room for another person on your chair. Not comfortable, but you still get to sit at the table and participate in your life.
This is the most important tool to manage your inner stories.
Don’t fight them - it will waste your time, time that you can invest in doing what’s important.
Don’t distract yourself - they will keep coming back.
Just make room for these stories. They are just there. The only harm they can do is only when you wnat to kill them.
Until next time.