One of the most intriguing and mind-boggling things you’ll come across ever has to be this- we all know what to do or what should be done, yet we somehow don’t end up doing it. So, why we don’t do what we should be doing?
It is the reason for our certain frustrations with life. We can crib all we want but we are what we do when we could have been comfortable doing. But we like being comfortable resulting in our stagnancy. Our wills to stick to the status quo is overwhelmingly more potent than our idea of action and change.
That’s exactly how the new year’s resolutions fail so miserably. We know what to do, but we don’t. We make resolutions and end up failing in most of them. You and I are in it. We don’t do what we should be doing despite all the motivation, fear, and advice around us. We think it, dream it, crave it, and cherish it but find it tough implementing when we ought to.
Our life story comprises of things we should do but for various self-made reasons don’t do them. We tend to follow the comfortable path. We want a healthy body, but don’t exercise. All of us crave money, but don’t save or invest. We fancy luxury, but don’t work towards it. We follow the convenient path; one that we feel is safe.
The article is not ranting or a confession that you and I need to make, but a reality of our lives making us what we are. Let’s say you are oblivion to some situation and you are stuck at finding a solution or a way out of it. But here it’s the reverse and we are aware of the outcomes and a path to achieve the desired result. How would you explain it? It is a problem of action incompetency post awareness of expected results.
So, what stops us from doing the evident thing?
The things we keep telling ourselves to avoid the inevitable.
Oh! this all is so comfortable
The biggest lie we keep telling ourselves. We enjoy the dread and daily struggle because we become familiar with it. Anything that breeds familiarity comforts us. From our fucked up daily schedules to frustrating jobs or work, we are accustomed to the comfort that comes with routine. However, the comfort spoils us.
I have a house, clothes, and food on the table. I may be dreading my situation but my comfort with the existing scenario prevents me from seeking unexplored bastions.
We know the problems at hand and how to deal with them, we just don’t. The sense of comfort and ease with our existing life puts us into a false predicament. With every available help and tool at our disposal, the relaxed pattern wins over the one where things can be improved drastically. We choose misery over change. Above all,we crave comfortable misery.
What to do?
- Understand why you should be something else. Analyze things that you may miss if you remain stuck forever.
- Comfort is good, but that’s not what you are here for. Just do something else which you’ve been avoiding. It’s as good as being dead if you are stuck. Life happens beyond comfort.
Is it worth the effort?
This single question has killed many dreams and aspirations. Even if we zero in on something and decide to put our might behind it, uncertainty prevails. It is such a tricky place to be. You decide to enroll in some professional courses to get your career on track and make progress. Only you don’t because of the uncertainty about what lies ahead. You decide to follow your calling but uncertainty prevents you.
Every time a decision stares you in the face, you end up uncertain. Is it all worth it? You think and get back to your old self. You knew what to do but you didn’t. Skepticism got the better of you.
Nobody is immune to this predicament. I kept on thinking and pondering over my decision to write since 2010. Never did anything, convincing myself off of it. I knew I should but didn’t.
Then came 2020 and I went all out for it. The thing is- why not back then if I am doing it now?
I was uncertain, skeptical, and doubted the outcome. Might as well have started then to make it big till now. You see how it took ten good years off the bandwagon I could have been into.
What to do?
- If it’s in your head, do it. At worst, you’ll fail. So what.
- Read about how people made it big? The challenges and anxiety will be taken care of.
It has to be perfect
Most of us have a similar ideology of getting it right the first time. Perfection, though seems ideal, isn’t a necessity. When I started my first business, I was clueless. I had no idea what to expect and how something like managing people and everything would turn out. I took a bet on myself and just went with the flow. It didn’t work out, but I cherish it. It gave me independence and an experience worth 10 jobs. You can push all the right buttons and yet end up unlucky.
You know why?
Rewind your life and you’ll know. Seldom you have things all figured out. It is only after initiating, failing, and re-initiating that you get things in order. I love quoting walking as an example. Such a simple and regular thing now was once a major first step that we all took scared. Did we seek perfection? No, we aimed at the constant effort.
There is no end to our desire for perfection. Furthermore, if you wait for the perfect timing till you are ‘ready’, you may wait for an entire lifetime.
We might believe perfection to be our savior. On the contrary, it holds us back from even starting. Our desire to get things right prevents us from initiating them.
What to do?
- Aim for the effort and repetition. Repetition breeds perfection.
- Something worth doing is worth doing badly. Chuck the if and but and get on with it. Embarrass yourself and do it wrong to get right.
Am I even good enough?
For years I doubted myself to write. And why not? I read these amazing articles by writing supermen and convinced myself. Deep down the feeling of not being there or not enough started to creep in. Every time I read an article, it blew me and said “you are not good enough.”
It kept on happening till it went away one day. I decided to put myself out there and see. With billions of people in this world, I don’t need everyone to appreciate or even read my thing. A few would be fine for me. Isn’t it?
There is no point comparing yourself with the world. Put yourself out there, put in the work honestly, and things start to happen. You are as good as you think you are. The USP you and I carry is a simple one- there is nobody like us. We are unique in our own ways. Cash into the uniqueness provided to you and make headway.
The problem with self-doubt is its multiplier effect. The more you doubt, the more real it becomes. You are right either way; you think you can or you can’t, both hold.
What to do?
- Believe in your uniqueness. You are better off failing than not starting.
- Identify key areas you are skilled at and hone them for confidence.
Similar read Ikigai: How to find purpose and transform life
The fear of failure
What if I fail? What if everything goes awry? We ask these questions all the time. Anything we plan on doing is hit by a roadblock once. The fear of failure is one of the major dampeners when it comes to inaction. We often plan certain things in our heads and then we reason within that how all this is going to fail because of various reasons. The inherent fear of not making it is always present.
We provide enough ammunition to our already confused state. What if everything fails? What would people talk and think about me?
We question everything. Remember, this is happening inside our heads while we are yet to act on anything substantial. We play a story and often it’s the wrong one. The one where we are defeated.
The continuous state of disagreement and uncertainty exhausts us to a point that we put everything off and go back to our old ways.
Easy, eh. The power of our minds. We planned and failed in our heads while the actual thing never took off.
What to do?
- You can only conquer fear by facing it. So, face it.
- Analyze the root cause of fear. Is it skill, resources, or anything else. Identify and kill the blockage.
Wrapping up, I’d say
If something is important to you and it took your mind space, it needs addressing. There can be infinite excuses for inaction while you only need one to act and transform. Find that one reason that overrides all other reasons. The only regret would be the decisions that you didn’t take and inaction would be one of those.
Imagine piling up the list of things you didn’t do till now and adding further to that. It will make a scary reading once you introspect. Yes, there are things you will put off down the line and it is fine. Always analyze and identify things that are critical to your well-being and growth and get hell-bent on making them happen.
Motivation alone doesn’t suffice so make discipline your ultimate go-to mechanism. Do things that you should be doing for they will define you.
Thanks for reading.
Let me know if this was worth your while