I am regularly embarrassed when I use the Facebook function On-This-Day, which looks back on the things that you posted “on this day” over the past several years. Personally it is often like looking into the life of 2 very very different people.
Recently, I was looking back on-this-day nearly 10 years ago and was reminded of a night in which like a complete moron, I got into a bar fight which ultimately resulted in a broken leg.
After weeks in a cast I was left with a lower leg that was much smaller in comparison to the other due to weeks of inactivity and subsequent muscle atrophy. The rehabilitation upon taking the cast off was like trying to learn how to use my lower leg and foot all over again. To this day that atrophy will at times still cause aches and pains that create setbacks.
While we must put forth the effort to reclaim muscle function due to atrophy, today I want to discuss the practice of placing language that leads to procrastination into a permanent state of atrophy and replace it with language that focuses on getting results.
Before we can shrink and place language patterns into diminished states we must first break the leg that procrastination stands on.
The Importance of Language-
For the next few moments I’m going to ask that you simply suspend what we have been led to believe about our ability to change and for old dogs to learn new tricks.
It’s likely that you are not a neuroscientist (and if you are, you will agree with what I’m about to say anyway) and it’s possible that even if you are a linguistic practitioner of some sort that you likely were not provided this segment of training.
Language should be viewed as the downloadable software of our brain. If we aren’t careful then we end up with crummy Internet Explorer type software instead of the more powerful Google Chrome.
Moving from procrastinator to producer requires that we take another step up the ladder of self-awareness. It requires that we take a look at and analyze the patterns of our language. As I concluded in part 2, the way that you talk to yourself reflects both the attitudes and beliefs that underpin how you feel and in turn how you will act (or not act).
Sending The Wrong Message
What I am about to share with you is one of the simplest and most powerful techniques I’ve used when trying to move from procrastination to productivity. Not long ago I mentioned this technique to a mastermind group that I’m a part of at which I could feel was either not well received or poorly explained.
This is my attempt to do a better job of explaining it.
“I have to do it” leads to an inner-conflict. When we speak to ourselves with this authoritative voice we feel the stress to do something, with one part applying the pressure and another part resisting.
In my opinion the most powerful technique in moving from procrastinating to producing is shifting our focus to “choice” and “choosing” to do something.
The power of focusing on and choosing words such as “I decide….” or “I will…” and “I choose….” direct energy toward a single goal with a clear and personal responsibility for the outcome.
Moving beyond the language of “I have to” and its ugly cousin “I should” liberates us from feeling as if we are “victims” or that we are “powerless.”
“Have To’s” and “I should” do not communicate to the mind and body a clear picture of what to do, when to do it, how to do it, or where to start.
Better Language, Better Results
With the right language patterns we begin to focus on results. With the right language we begin to focus on our choice rather than what we have to do. With the right language patterns we can focus on what is rather than what we think should be.
With time in new empowering patterns of language we can place old patterns of communicating to ourselves in a state of atrophy and move from procrastinating to producing the results that we want.
TRY THIS FOR THE NEXT 72 HOURS – It’s likely that no one will even notice the shift in language but you can almost guarantee they will notice the difference in your action(s).
Replace the usage of “I have to” with “I choose to…”
Replace the usage of “I must finish” with “When can I start?”
Replace the usage of “I must be perfect” with “I can be perfectly human.”
Sean Z. Callahan