I know what you’re thinking. “The best way to never make progress in your life is to procrastinate. Duh. Dumbass.”
That’s a good way to never make progress in your life. However, I think there’s an even better, slightly more sinister and painful way of never making progress in your life.
I call it “Prepastination”, and for years, I was the world’s grand master at this secret technique for never getting anywhere. Great title to hold onto, I know.
From the time I was 23 years old until about the time I was 26, I was preparing myself for what would eventually be my life’s work: Peak Performance and Personal Development coach. I spent those 3 years locked in my house. I would read books for hours and hours every single day. I would go online and watch speeches. I’d participate in online seminars, webinars, conferences, and courses. I even went to some live training events as well.
I wanted to completely immerse myself in it. I was extremely passionate about it, driven, determined, motivated, and excited to get going. I’d envision myself getting out there, working with athletes, doing talks, and achieving my dream. I started creating my own material. I was writing down new ideas every day. I was putting together a great program, filled with exercises, tools, and resources that I had made. “This is going to be so incredible. I have something really great here”, I’d say to myself. I finally, after all these years, knew I had nailed down what I was going to do for the rest of my life.
The only problem was, in those 3 years, I never actually TOOK the next step. I got caught in a perpetual state of preparation.
In other words, I was a “Prepastinator”.
Prepastinator – Someone who does lots of work, preparation, and gets things done, but procrastinates from every actually making USE of it by taking that final step and putting it into ACTION.
How does one become a Prepastinator?
Constantly make excuses as to why you’re not ready yet
I was always coming up with some new, ridiculous excuse as to why my work wasn’t ready to be put into use yet:
-“I don’t want to forget anything.”
-“It still doesn’t feel ready.”
-“I can still make it better.”
-“There’s still more I can learn first.”
-“I’m in no rush.”
-“It’ll feel right once it’s time to make a move.”
All bullshit. All excuses. Again, you see, I was getting things done. I wasn’t procrastinating from doing my actual work. I was doing the research, putting in the work, and creating some great material. I just kept inventing these excuses as to why it wasn’t ready yet, or why I wasn’t ready yet, or why it didn’t feel like the right moment to make the next step, so on and so forth.
The truth is, I was ready enough after about a year or so. I just bullshitted my way out of taking that last big step for the next 3 years.
Love being trapped & imprisoned in your Comfort Zone
Everyone knows that comfort zones can be dangerous, especially when they keep you from progressing, changing, and growing. So, why not just do the obvious thing, make the step, take action, and get going?
Because taking action can be scary. Because staying where you are, where you’re familiar, and where you feel safe, is much easier than actually having to have the courage to step into the unknown and the uncertain.
I was doing this subconsciously. I wasn’t telling myself, “I’m really comfortable here in my little zone, so I think I’ll stay here.” In the back of my mind, the fear, doubt, and uncertainty about what would happen once I took decided to actually move forward and put my ideas into action was really fuckin’ scary.
“Hey, I have some really great material that I think you’d be interested in, and I think it can really help you out a lot. Look it over when you have some time and let me know what you think.”
Why face possible rejection when I could stay safe in my little house away from all the mean people who want to crap all over my precious work? Who needs it?
I did. Badly. But, for 3 years, I was too scared.
Delude yourself into thinking you’re actually getting somewhere
Human beings get excited by progress and by the idea that we’re moving forward. And, while small, incremental, daily progress is a great thing, it’s not great when it lasts for 3 years straight without any real jump in growth, like I did.
I was looking at my life and going, “I’m getting all this great stuff done every day. I’m creating all this great material. I’m moving towards my eventual goal.”
But, you can take all the small, incremental steps you want. If you don’t eventually make the step, get out there, and put all that hard work and preparation into real action, you’ll always end up stuck exactly where you are.
Convince yourself that “It’ll happen when it happens.”
Another fairytale. Another myth. I actually put this fantasy to the test to see what would happen. Here were my results:
Test #1 – Let my laundry sit for a week, not wash it, and see if it gets clean.
Result – I didn’t have any clothes to wear at the end of the week, because my laundry didn’t wash itself.
Test #2 – Let my dishes pile up for 3 days, not wash them, and see if they magically become clean.
Result – Within 3 days, I had nothing to eat on or with, because my dishes never magically cleaned themselves.
Test #3 – Write an email to someone to set up a meeting, not send it, and see if the email sends itself.
Result – Guy writes me 5 days later: “Hey, did you still want to have that meeting this week, or no?” My email never sent itself.
Things won’t just “happen when they’ll happen.” If you approach your life that way, then expect to be waiting forever, because great things in life don’t come to those who wait. They come to those who take action and have the patience and the perseverance to keep going until what they want becomes theirs.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to Fear.
I kept myself in this sick, continuous state of over-preparation simply as a way to avoid having to actually have the courage to take the step that mattered. I allowed myself to get sucked into the fear of possibly being rejected, or having my work criticized, or never even getting people to notice me.
I constantly made excuses as to why I wasn’t ready yet, when in reality, I was ready enough to at least get going to get the ball rolling.
I was imprisoned within my own comfort zone, but in fact, I was nothing more than imprisoned.
I deluded myself into thinking that I was actually making real significant progress, when in actuality, I was completely stagnant.
I convinced myself that it would all just happen when the time was right, when realistically, I was passing up on great opportunities to seize chances that were right in front of me.
I was frightened of knowing that I couldn’t see what was beyond my immediate future.
If you want to be someone who has these incredible ideas, spends hours, days, weeks, months, and even years of your life cultivating and nurturing them, but never actually believes in themselves enough to just lay caution to the wind and throw them out into the world, then be a Prepastinator.
If you want to be someone who ends up laying on their hospital death bed as a 90 year old with nothing but memories and visions of life that should have been, then be a Prepastinator.
If you want to be someone who drives around late at night wondering why your life hasn’t felt like it’s really moved in the right direction, then be a Prepastinator.
The best way to never make progress in your life is to spend your life preparing for something that won’t ever come UNLESS YOU PUT ALL THAT PREPARATION INTO ACTION.
You don’t have to know how you’re gonna get there. You don’t have to feel 100% ready. It doesn’t have to seem 100% right. You just need to put your life into action, take things a step at a time, and be willing to have the courage to learn as you go. Today.