Q: Three frogs were sitting on a lily pad. It was a hot Summer’s day, and one decided to jump off and cool down in the pond. How many frogs were still on the lily pad?
A: Three. (scroll down for an explanation)
“Some people characterise it as procrastination, some think they’re plain lazy, and others think they have a split personality.”
Have you ever made a decision and then emphatically failed to carry that decision through into action? Recently I’ve met a lot of people who are worried about their decision-making abilities. To be more accurate, they’re worried that they don’t do what they’ve decided to do. And they can’t figure out what it is that stops them from moving from “deciding” to doing. It’s fascinating to listen to them talk about it – like there’s two different people, one who decides, and one who stubbornly refuses to carry out the decision.
“if a decision is made and nobody sees it, was there really a decision?”
Some people characterise it as procrastination, some think they’re plain lazy, and others think they have a split personality. However they explain it, it wastes a lot of time, deciding, un-deciding, re-deciding. Makes you wonder what a decision actually is – if a decision is made and nobody sees it, was there really a decision? If nothing manifests in the real world, then nothing can be criticised. It can’t be faulted. Blame can’t be attached to anyone, and no one risks the shame of failure. The word “perfectionist” crops up a lot in this context. Apparently failure to start falls in a different category, and has totally different feelings attached to it, compared to failure to complete.
It’s easy to get drawn into the trap of analysing the causes, and being endlessly fascinated by the elaborate self-deception and mind games. That certainly IS procrastination. But how can you move from decision to action? Here’s a straw man plan – I’d welcome comments.
- Don’t leave a gap. Act immediately, without second guessing yourself.
- If you can’t act immediately (and, be honest, you probably can) set a date and a definite, practical first step that leaves a mark in the world.
- Use “If …..then…….” thinking to leave less time for rumination
- If you’re still not doing anything, check who made the decision. Was it really you, or was it one of those should/ought/must things that don’t really belong to you?
- Get outside of your own head, get a coach to help you.
Explanation: Why were there still three frogs? The frog who decided, never actually jumped.