How many times have you thought of doing something but stopped yourself to say, “I’ll wait for a better time to do this”, or “I’ll wait till I’m more ready”?
Our minds have conditioned us to procrastinate, especially if it is about something we perceive to be difficult, or we’ve stumbled before on the first try. This behavior can surface in any aspect of life, from cleaning up the mess in your room, to tackling that presentation speech, to creating your profile on a dating app or asking someone out.
The prospect of failure has that effect. We give ourselves a hard time for having failed before or having no experience in a certain field, and choose the route of inaction because of these reasons (excuses!).
• If our past two relationships ended in a break-up, we tell ourselves the next one is bound to be another disaster.
• If we have not had a serious relationship before, we tell ourselves it’s a sign we can’t do this and will mess up.
Conclusion being, let’s sit on this a bit more for signs that it might work out, before we do anything. Most times, you end up not doing anything.
I’m going to give you two reasons for making that move you’ve been holding off.
1. There’s never really going to be a “right” or “best” time to do anything
Because honestly, you can never know. You can only guess. In hindsight, there’s always going to be a better choice you could have made. And that’s a good thing to find out, because it means you are growing and learning from experience!
Rather than rue over what you could have done or how you “should have known better”, it’s more effective to learn quickly what you can do right the next time around. James Clear, writer and a keen student of human behavior, says, “When it comes to complex issues like determining the values you want in a partner or selecting the path of your career, your first attempt will rarely lead to the optimal solution. [So] The faster you learn from being wrong, the sooner you can discover what is right.”
For situations like wondering when to ask a girl/guy out, stop telling yourself things like, “Oh, maybe not this week. She/he seems busy.” or “It’s way too fast from our last chat message. I’m not ready. Let me think of a good way to ask.”
Why? Because you will tell yourself the same thing the next week. It’s not possible to feel truly ready, nor predict if the potential date will agree to meet. You have to spare yourself all these mind-guessing and prejudgments, and just take that shot. As the saying goes, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
2. What you hesitate to do could just be what you most need to do
Sometimes, it’s not that we don’t want to do something, it’s that we’re afraid of doing something that will move the needle. We tend to be comfortable with the status quo and used to our current lifestyle. If you believe that a certain action will trigger change, you subconsciously resist and find yourself frozen in action.
Maybe you have the vision of a loving relationship with someone you are going out with, yet you hold back from taking further steps towards that because somewhere deep inside, you believe that having that kind of relationship equals some kind of loss of freedom or loss of time with friends.
Your beliefs drive your behavior. If you often feel like you want to take things to the next level, and yet find yourself behaving in ways that directly conflict with what you say you want, pay close attention to your thoughts. Instead of letting them hold you back, you could be like the writer of this article, who astutely “recognized the inner procrastinator as a signal that I was precisely on the right track” and directs it to his own advantage.
Given that there’s never going to be the “best” time to do anything, make your move now, whatever you’ve been sitting on. Because it could be surprisingly insightful to listen to that “inner procrastinator” of yours and do exactly what it has been holding you back from doing. They are signs that you’re on to something good, so get started!
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