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Are You Ready to Take Action Today?

Aug 17, 2007
It may seem obvious, but nothing ever gets done if we don't take action. We know this instinctively, and yet many of us hem and haw about making a move. The reason we don't take action is that we are procrastinators. But why do we put off taking action? And more importantly, what can we do to reverse the trend?

Procrastination can be caused by several factors. Laziness is a distinct possibility, but it is also possible that a person simply doesn't feel well or have much energy. Sometimes we think a project will take more brain power or muscle grease than we want to put out at the time, so we put it off. However, probably the most prevalent cause behind procrastination is being a perfectionist.

A perfectionist is one who wants what they do to be flawless, or nearly so. Most of us have at least some tendency toward this trait. It is natural for us to want our work to look good, because it is an expression and reflection of ourselves. Our pride is involved, and we don't like being associated with a project that is not done absolutely right.

The problem is, almost no project is ever done perfectly. There is always some small mistake a person can find. Focusing on this lack of perfection leads to fear. A perfectionist is often paralyzed by the fear of making a wrong move. For instance, if you are facing the prospect of cleaning your kitchen, you can be stopped dead in your tracks simply because you don't know if you should wipe the table off first or sweep the floor first. In fact, there are a dozen other places you could start.

It all boils down to being able to make a decision. The fact is, most times these decisions are not really that crucial. Remember that making no move at all is a move in itself - and it's almost always the wrong one! To overcome procrastination and take action today, a person with perfectionist tendencies must take the risk of making a wrong move.

Remember that making a mistake is not the end of the world. In fact, mistakes are necessary stepping stones along the road to personal growth and success. If you haven't made many mistakes in your life, it's a dead giveaway that you haven't been doing enough. Believe in yourself and take a risk. Look at your options first and make an educated choice, but make that move. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, but you won't go anywhere if you don't make that first step.

Learning to quit procrastinating about making decisions is not easy but it can be done. The more decisions you make, the easier it is to make them. Don't get discouraged, though. Remember that the other kind of people are the impetuous ones who leap before they look. They get into all kinds of trouble! Be glad you're not going through life undoing the results of impulsive actions. But do learn from them that taking risks and taking action today is basically a good thing.
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