8 Keys to Overcoming Your Procrastination | Impact Theory Q&A | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "8 Keys to Overcoming Your Procrastination | Impact Theory Q&A".


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Intro (00:00)

- Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of Impact Theory. You are here with me today. I'm gonna be answering your questions and we're gonna be talking all about procrastination, actually doing something with all of your potential, turning into real skills and then deploying that into the real world.

Effective Personal Development Strategies

Procrastination (00:10)

That is my obsession and that is what we're gonna be focused on today. So without further ado, here we go. The first question is up. - Hi Tom, my name is Paul. I'm a bodyguard, I work in the security business. And I actually encountered you for the first time because I worked in a vent two years ago in Universal City in which you spoke. So that was a good day at work. My dream is the film and television businesses. So in my spare time, I've been writing screenplays and a graphic novel manuscript. The trouble that I have is my work schedule can vary radically week to week. So sometimes I'm doing overnight, sometimes I'm working early mornings and it's never quite the same. It can be a challenge to get enough sleep, to exercise, maintain my health, maintain my relationship with my wife. And that constant circadian rhythm disruption is expensive. So my questions are what strategies would you suggest to maximize my household time? And what should I tell myself when I have pages to do but all I want is to take a nap? Thanks Tom. All right, so you are in a world that I think everybody can relate to in terms of, there's often a competing goal in terms of what you want in the short term versus what you want in the long term. And one of the coolest quotes I've ever heard in my life is don't sell out what you want most for what you want right now. And I think that is a quote to live by right there. So that's the big one is really making sure that you are focused and excited about what it is that you want long term. And even just having a phrase that you can say to yourself about what it is that you want most, I think would be hugely beneficial. So often people don't have that level of clarity. So when we're talking about procrastination, just the raw desire to actually see something through to the end is gonna be critically important. Now, the rest of what we're talking about is very mechanistic, but I wanna go through it. So first of all, anything that's disrupting the rhythm of your day is gonna be wildly problematic. I will answer the question assuming that there's just absolutely nothing you can do about that. But I wanna sneak in a quick little answer for anybody else that finds themselves in a similar situation if there's any way for you to get out of the situation where you are constantly having the rhythm of your day disrupted, I highly encourage it. So we're about to go through how you can regiment the chaos, but first and foremost would be to not find yourself in the chaos to begin with. And that really does matter in terms of, when I think about my own life and trying to be as deadly efficient with every single moment that I have, eliminating disruptions is a big one. Okay, now assuming that you can't eliminate the disruptions, then you're gonna need to start building some rules into your life so that any moment where you have, let's say, that rule might be, if I have any consecutive three minutes where I know three minutes are available, then I'm going to immediately do X. Now that X might be journaling, so you keep something like Evernote on your phone and you have a topic preordained, something you already know that you're going to do. And whenever you have a gap, 'cause look, some gaps just aren't gonna be worth it. So if I had a 90 second gap, I may not fuss with it, it's gonna take 20 seconds just to get your phone out and get the app open and have it refreshed and all of that. But if you're really hardcore, and you say anytime where I have a three minute stretch, then I'm going to make sure that I immediately begin doing something that's productive. A big part of making limited windows like that productive is the following. So first and foremost is having an important things list. And by having that important things list, you're gonna be able to immediately slide into knowing exactly what you should be doing so that you don't spend the three minutes just trying to figure out what it is that you're going to do. So you're gonna have that important things list, you're going to know exactly what you should be doing, you're going to build in some minimum amount of time where you say anytime where I have this amount of time or more, I'm immediately going to dive into one of the things in my important things list. Now important things list shouldn't all be just these gargantuan things that require hours and hours of time. You wanna make sure that you have things that you can do that are long. You wanna make sure that you have some things that are medium and you wanna make sure that you have some things that are short. And when you have that, now you can begin sliding into those. Some of what you may be doing in the short may be researching something, learning more about, so you're talking a lot about film and TV. So I can just tell you right now that I have a YouTube playlist which I also curate ahead of time. So anytime I've got a brief window, it's what I call transitional moments where I immediately pick up my phone, take it out, go into let's say screenwriting, boom, I've already got 20 videos that are just gonna auto play, so I don't have to select the next one. Curate it on that playlist, boom, I started going and now I'm researching. Another thing that I can do in very limited windows of time is I have specific stories that I'm gonna be journaling on. And I might journal for a minute, I might journal for an hour depending on how much time I have. But every second that I spend working on that, I'm able to eke a little bit more productivity out of it. So that's huge. You're gonna need to make sure that you get sleep. That's gonna be really critical. And then you need to prioritize things in your life. You mentioned your wife. So for me, my wife is number one. Now, not in terms of time allocation, but in terms of importance. So when I know that there's any friction there, I'm gonna deal with that first.

Push Periods (05:41)

When there's, I need to capture joy or something to really reaffirm the relationship and make sure that it is this beacon of joy and hope in my life, I'm gonna do that. So putting your values in life in ranked order is gonna be critically important to you. All right, in a nutshell, that's the strategy that I would use. I hope that helps report back. I think that you will find that having those things preordained so that you can at a moment's notice, slip into productivity is really gonna serve you. All right, next. - Hi, Tom. Thank you for the opportunity to ask a question. My name is Masha. And my question has to do with the beginning of work week. It's Mondays and sometimes Tuesday, if I be where I seem to lose a lot of momentum over the weekend. The fact is I do have three small children. They spend a lot of time with them on the weekend. So comes Monday, sometimes struggle with getting back in the groove. And of course, if we lose Mondays, that's 20% of the whole work week. So it seems a bit excessive to lose 20% of productivity just based on the fact that weekends might interfere with our workflow. So would you have any recommendations as to how to combat that? So any tips would be wonderful. Thank you. Bye-bye.

Get Excited (07:00)

- All right, so I love that you've already got your finger on the fact that if you're letting a Monday slip away or what most people do, which is let a Friday and a Monday slip away, so Friday they're sliding into party mode and then Monday sort of recovery mode. Now you're losing two fifths of the entire week. So the fact that you're already aware of what's at stake here is really exciting and certainly encouraging. The big thing, and this is why I always tell people there need to be two things true about the goals you're trying to accomplish. One, they need to be honorable, and two, they need to be exciting. So we'll set honorable aside for a second and just focus on being just absolutely committed out of enthusiasm to accomplishing your goal. And this has been one of the things that's propelled me the most in my career is that I legitimately am excited about the thing that I'm trying to build. And because I value myself for the sincere pursuit of this thing that is both exciting to me and honorable in that it's going to lift people up if I actually accomplish it. And I'm holding myself accountable to actual results, but the game, the game, which is the right way to think about it, the game of trying to turn my potential into usable skills that can do something tangible in the world to make that goal that's exciting and honorable come true because all of that game is predicated on making sure that I love the time in the field, that I'm leaving everything out on the field and I value myself for that. I don't value myself for accomplishing it, but I value myself for actually trying to pursue it. So now you can imagine, I'm saying this stuff to myself all the time. So the weekends are fun and I do wife oriented things and I'm doing like in your case, I would be doing the things that are oriented around my kids and I would love it and I would have work shut off in my mind and I wouldn't be trying to work double duty on the weekends I would be with my kids. And then during the week, I'm going to be focused on that goal that I want to be focused on. Now here is the catch. If your value system is such that family time is far more important and exciting to you than work time, you may want to reevaluate your goals because it may be that you're trying to convince yourself to pursue something Monday through Friday that actually doesn't resonate with you. Now if that's true, you've got a couple different options. You can either find a way to make this stuff that you want to do with your family, for your family, that skill set. You can find a way to make that a big part of your Monday through Friday so that it feels like more of a continuation of the week. It may not be play time and I get it. Everybody has to eat and pay your bills and so you're going to have to find something to monetize. But there are often things what I call universe of. So if family time, quality time with your kids, that's a skill set that you want to be extraordinary at. What's a way where you could be in the universe of that skill set, those things during the week so that you saw a direct correlation between what you do during the week and then that thing that really matters to you, which is your family time on the weekend. So it could be pursuing a degree in psychology. It could be working at a daycare. It could be teaching. I don't know in what way that to you is sort of the deep passion, but that's another way to approach this. There's no right or wrong goal. There is only a goal that is both exciting and honorable and gets you amped on Monday so that the way you're pursuing it through the week is exciting to you. You don't feel like you're living for the weekend. And that's where people are often falling apart is their Monday through Friday is a should thing. It's I should want this. I should pursue this instead of being a continuation of just the things in life that they love. And the way that I've tried to structure my life is such that on the weekend, other than spending time with my wife, the most exciting thing that I can think of to do are the fun parts of my Monday through Friday. That's how much I enjoy what I'm pursuing and what I'm trying to build is that sure, there's overhead. Look, I will say that my work life is comprised of 60% overhead, meaning things I don't want to do and 40% things I do want to do. But that 40% is so much fun and the 60% serves that 40% so well that on the weekend, I can pull from that 40% and just be energized and feel wildly enthusiastic. That is the best way that I could spend my totally free time. And that is a sign that you've got things aligned. So that would be my encouragement. If you find yourself having a hard time revving back up, it tells me that you figured something out on the weekends that you haven't yet figured out during the week. Find a way to align them. All right, next up. - Hey, Tom, it's Kevin. I'm from San Jose, California and I'm currently a student. I'm a senior in high school to be more specific. And my question for you is, how do I turn something that I want to do or that I'm aspiring to do into something that I don't really have a choice to do or something that I need to do? And I'm wondering how I'd be able to turn, for example, if I wanted to wake up early in the morning, it's a lot easier for me to do that if I know I have class in the morning or whatever. And if I don't really have a choice to do it in my mind, it's a million times easier to do that thing versus if I have a choice or, you know, it's yeah, I should do it, but I don't need to. It's a lot easier for me not to do it. So my question is, how do I turn that want into a need? Thanks, man, and hopefully this can make into the video. Thanks.

Turning a Want into a Need (12:30)

- All right, so you made it into the video. Here we go. Turning a want into a crushing need is one of the most useful processes that you can master. And when you understand that we don't get what we want, but we get what we need, then you begin to understand, okay, this is something I want to learn how to line up. So I want to take this thing that I want and isn't a need, it really is just a want. And I want to figure out the process of how I increase its level of importance in my mind. So one of the most important things to understand about the human brain is that the brain, the conscious mind will work backwards to justify what it's done. So the human brain is absolutely fascinating and it has a mechanism. So I talk about this thing called the physics of being human. Like what does the brain just do in and of itself? And one of the things that the brain does in and of itself, always in forever is it will justify what happens. There's this amazing thing, a study that was done on people that have short-term memory loss so that they cannot form new memories. They have brain damage that makes it impossible for them to form new memories. So a doctor will go in, they will have a pin on their hand, they will shake hands with the person, it pokes them, person jerks their hand back. Now remember, they cannot form new memories. So that doctor jabs them and they're in pain, they pull their hand away, doctor comes back five minutes later, the person does not remember meeting them at all, but they still won't shake their hand. Now when you ask them, oh, why won't you shake my hand? They will make shit up and they'll be like, "Well, I've just always had this problem with shaking people's hands that are wearing white lab coats." Which is total bullshit. Five minutes ago, they were more than happy to shake that person's hand. So that is the conscious mind needing to make sense of what's going on in the subconscious mind. Because the way that memories are stored are very different, so you have the implicit and the explicit memory, so you've got something that's happening consciously and subconsciously. So the short-term memory is not turned into long-term memory, and so they don't remember why they're doing this thing, but the part of the memory that's working based around the pain and knowing what causes pain stimulus realizes that this person generates pain, but the subconscious speaks in emotion, it doesn't speak in language. And so the rational logical mind tries to then make sense of what is going on. So we're gonna hijack that to work for us here in this example where we wanna get hyped up about something, but we want it to be real. So we know that the mind is doing this, and yes, we're totally hacking the mind. Yes, we're playing a bit of a game with ourselves, but it ends up having this incredible impact. So what I do is I embody the passion that I wanna feel. So like I'm doing now, you can imagine, if you're sitting in a room with me, I would probably be speaking much more subdued, but because I understand that the passion that I'm feeling is infectious to other people, that if I can embody it, then I can get other people to feel it as well. Now, the crazy thing is it works in a loop, and I actually begin to feel that the response that I'm having is the right amplitude. So even if I'm merely consciously turning the dial of excitement up or whatever about the goal that we have, because I know that I wanna spring at a bed in the morning, I'm gonna dial that up and say this thing that I'm working towards, it isn't a want. This is a need, I've gotta have this, and this is why I have to have it, and I'm going to create some logic that really means something to me, and I'll give you an example, at Quest, to show up every day and to fight that hard, to learn manufacturing, to spend my time repairing equipment, it was fucking crazy, and there were times it was so frustrating, and I knew for me to do something I didn't wanna do, that I was going to have to leverage that notion, so I said going into it. How do I attach to building a nutrition company to something that I care intrinsically about, deeply about?

Leverage (15:58)

And that thing became my mom and my sister, and so I said okay, this is really powerful, because I can show up every day and fight for my mom and my sister. So how do I associate my mom and my sister to a nutrition company? And the answer was very simple, my mom and my sister were morbidly obese, and I wanted to help make food that they could choose based on taste, and it happened to be good for them. And if I could do that, that they would be in my life longer, they would live longer, healthier lives, they would feel better. So, when a piece of equipment broke down, or I was dealing with something incredibly frustrating, or I was working insane hours, it was just, hey, I'm doing this for my mom and my sister, and I would embody that, and I would tell people that, and I would feel it, and I would get amped up the way that I'm doing right now. I would literally say things like this, like a crazed man, and it began to infuse, so that over time, six months, 12 months, it was like, I really felt, like this was a crusade for my mom and my sister. And that is so powerful, the ability to take something that you care deeply about, marry it to a goal that you care about, so that you have this emotional resonance with that thing, is very, very powerful. So, that's the brain hack that you're gonna use to get yourself super excited. All right, there it is. Next up. - My name is Nils McCory, and I live in San Miguel, the end of Mexico, and I'm a camera coach. I help people not just feel confident on camera, but to be interesting and engaging when they're working with their audience. The trouble is, a lot of us are working social media, and we literally get sucked into the exact type of content that we create. So you could be uploading a video, and your abouts uploaded, and then you see something interesting, and lose a half an hour, and then think, what was I doing? Oh yeah, I was gonna upload a video. So, what's your recommendation to someone who has to work around social media to make sure they stay on the content creation side, and don't get sucked into the consumer side. Would love your thoughts on that. - All right, here we go. There's two things that are gonna help you out.

1 / Raise Your Standards (18:22)

Number one, rules. I don't think people understand the power of rules, where you have rules in your life, and you abide by those rules. So, if you know that consuming content is gonna be a problem for you, then we're gonna wanna make sure that we limit that, that we say that we have a rule around the amount of consumption that we do, and or that we say, I don't consume content between these hours, and I allow myself to consume content during these hours. So maybe you allow yourself to consume content only the last hour before you go to bed, or if that spikes your anxiety, some other period in the day. But you confine it to a very limited period, and that is extremely beneficial, have the rule, stick to the rule. The other part is to audit your time.

2 / Outperform Yourself (19:10)

Now, this is where we get into reward and punishment. So, you have to be able to reward yourself when you stick to your rules, when you make good use of your time, and you need to be able to punish yourself emotionally. Let's not get out of control here, and I will bring all the baggage of all, I've talked so much about this. 20% of your time is punishment, 80% is rewarding yourself, is being good to yourself, focusing on the good, the beautiful, the light energy. Never let yourself spend more than 20% of your time in the dark energy, but it is very powerful, and people that fail to leverage the dark side of the force, will never achieve what somebody who can leverage both things can achieve. But you have to be very, very careful. It's a corrosive energy, it will make you feel like shit if you overplay that hand, so you have to be very, very careful. Now, having said that, you're gonna have to get good at this, so that when you're abiding by your rules, and you do the audit, and you realize, "Whoa, I've really killed it, "I've made good use of this time, "I've actually made progress, right?" So we don't wanna just reward ourselves for our intention, we wanna reward ourselves for whether or not we actually made progress. And if we're making progress, then we're gonna feel really good about that. And if we're not making progress, but we really did give it our all, we're gonna feel good about that as well, because ultimately we value ourselves for the sincere pursuit. But you look at that and you say, "Did I sincerely pursue this?" Yes, did I get the actual desired outcome? Let's say no, cool. Then I'm going to formulate a new hypothesis, and I'm gonna try something new. If we realize in the audit, we actually didn't make good use at that time. We're not gonna hide from that, we're gonna own it, and we're going to make adjustments. Just the way that we would, if we realized that we didn't get the outcome that we wanted, we're gonna make adjustments. So one of the most important rules that I've ever had in my life is getting out of bed in 10 minutes or less. And the way that I would celebrate myself, very simple stuff, if I got out of bed in 10 minutes or less, I was like, "Man, you said you were gonna do it, "and you did it." That's exactly how I would talk to myself. And I would just really feel good about that, and I would encourage that myself, like, "Hey, man, you said you were gonna do it, "here we go, get some momentum, go do your thing." I would start doing it, something that was goal pursuit is honorable and exciting. So now I'm doing something I'm excited about, I'm doing something I really believe in, and I am doing it precisely because I got out of bed when I said I was gonna get out of bed. And then, if I audit that, and I didn't, let's say that I got out of bed in 10 minutes and 30 seconds, and I would go to my wife and I'd say, "Look, I need to confess. "I didn't get out of bed in 10 minutes or less, "I got out in the 11th minute, "or I got out in 12 minutes, you know, "whatever the case may be." I remember there were times where, like, right before I was about to get out of bed, I would just get lost in a train of thought, and I would end up laying in bed for far too long, and I would tell her, "Hey, I ended up laying in bed "for six or seven extra minutes." Now, that may seem ridiculous, but I used to lay in bed for four and five hours a day. So that was an absolute game-changer for me. So rules and audit, rules and audit, reward and punish. You do that, and you will be well on your way. Next up. - Hey, Tom, this is Ali from Morgan Hill, California. I'm really struggling to commit any time to reading. I started the year with a goal to read at least 12 bucks, and so far I only achieved four. I fully believe that knowledge is power, and I need to read and educate myself to achieve my goals, but despite that, I keep procrastinating my reading time. If you have any advice, I would really appreciate it. Thank you. - All right, man. We are now into my absolute obsession, which is skills have utility. The only reason to read those books is because on the other side of that is usable skillset.

Skill have utility (22:45)

There's something that you wanna build. There's something that you wanna create. There's something you wanna be able to do. There's people you wanna be able to outperform. There's something that you wanna accomplish that requires you to read those books. Now, once you have that, and once you've embodied that enthusiasm and taken that want from a want to a need, now all of a sudden it's like, you couldn't stop me from reading that book because I know by reading that book and really using what's in it, I'm gonna be able to do something I couldn't do before reading that book. Skills have utility, okay? So the idea is just to get obsessed with what it is that you want to create. And then it's, are you reading the books that give you the ability to go and create that? It's what I call the only belief that matters. Once you believe that time and energy put into gaining a skillset actually brings you, improve skillset, then of course you're gonna pour yourself into doing that. So one of two things is true for you.

Two beliefs about reading (23:49)

Reading may trigger your insecurities and you feel like, I'm so fucking dumb. I'm reading this book. I have to read the same page over and over and over. What is wrong with me? I'm never gonna get through this. And so you get this negative loop going in your head. So every time you pick up a book, it's you having to stare nakedly at your inadequacies. You're having to deal with that negative fucking voice in your head that's telling you that you're not good enough. And so reading is some flashback to all of these insecurities that you almost certainly developed in childhood. And so it's like, oh God, I don't want to face that. Or it's, there's not actually anything that you're really that excited about and you're kind of picking books at random and it's like people told you that you should read it and they said it's kind of cool. And so you're reading the book because you think that you should and you have this goal. All of those things are going to send you into a death spiral. So one, focus on the only belief that matters. To believe to the core of your being that the average human being is designed to learn and grow. Okay, then it's what do we point that learning and growing app? Because we know we're gonna be able to do it. Maybe some people do it more easily than you. What the fuck does that matter? Absolutely nothing because most people won't apply themselves. And then if you think of yourself as valuable, not for being smart, being good, being worthy, reading fast, getting better than other people. And instead you think of it as, I want to sincerely pursue something that matters to me. And I'm gonna reward myself for spending time reading that book. And it's okay if I'm not a fast reader. It's okay if I learn more slowly than other people. On a long enough timeline, I really can learn this stuff. I really can get better and I really can influence the real world. And I want to influence the real world because of this goal that I'm trying to achieve and this goal really matters to me. It's exciting, it's honorable, and I'm gonna give it my everything. If you do that, then you will find yourself wanting those books, coveting it and people won't be able to tear you away. So there it is. All right, who's up next? Hello, my name is Pita Siroir. I am from California from the city of El Todina. And my question to you, Tom, in regards to procrastination is, I have been unemployed for close to a year. It'll be a year in February. And I thought I would actually get up on my feet within a few months and start working on my YouTube channel. I just got certified to be a personal trainer. So I thought it would just happen right away. It hasn't and maybe I'm not trying hard enough. And I feel like I can do more or I can try to do virtual workouts or just upload content. However, I'm finding myself daily stuck in bed and not being able to get up early, getting out at 12, feeling sorry for myself. It's been really, really tough. I don't know how to beat this procrastination that it has me feeling stagnant, paralyzed. I don't know what my next move will be. So if I can please get your help in what I should do next or how to take action, I really need your help and I really appreciate it. Thank you so much. - All right. Few things kill productivity and inspire procrastination more aggressively than issues of insecurity, a lack of self-worth. And this goes back to what we were talking about in terms of the only belief that matters. A huge breakthrough for me was realizing that I was not special.

Playing the wrong game (27:14)

I was not smarter than most people. I wasn't more worthy. I was average. I was hopelessly average. Now, that may sound negative, but what it did was it let me off the hook. And once I no longer needed to protect this notion of, I am who I am, I was born a certain way and all of my value in life is around walling that off and making sure that the way that I was born makes me proud of who I am and makes me successful in the real world. And when I let go of that and realize, oh wait, I'm playing the wrong game. The game I should be playing is how good can I get? So instead of being something, it's about becoming something. And by needing to believe that I could be something better than other people or I could become something faster than other people, that was also a dangerous game. I just needed to know. I'm the average human. Now, that doesn't mean that I don't want to beat people. I don't want to be better than that. And I know that's very controversial for people. And that is a discussion for another day. I will fucking put ships on the fact that if you're not prepared to compete, you've got a whole nother problem, but we'll set that aside for now since I know I just raised some people's hackles. And I will say that for now, what you want to focus on is your hopelessly average. Amazing. And now it's about recognizing that the average human being is designed to learn and grow and to get better. And so now it's a question of how do we put enough time and energy into something to actually get better at that thing? And that really is the key that we want to focus on. So shifting away from being something, stepping into the idea of becoming something, building all of your sense of self-worth and pride around doing hard things rather than accomplishing something grand, like you're showing up every day. You're leaving it all out on the field. You were doing hard things. You were working towards something and playing the long game. And that's the key here. So you said that when you started, you thought this was all just gonna happen much more quickly and you're getting demoralized and I'm sure that the longer this goes, the more sort of in this death spiral you are and the more likely you are to not actually go and do that thing. And you want to recognize that this is a game of putting out maximum effort for an obscene amount of time before things click over. It's crazy how long and hard you have to go with something. And then here is the really fucking hard thing. You have to be getting better. Like you have to actually be improving. And so that just brings us back to that investment in changing our potential into skill set because skill set has utility.

How do you let yourself off the hook in the pursuit of happiness? (29:58)

And we want to just be in that loop all the time, all the time, one foot in front of the other, rules about getting out of bed in the morning, rules about going after something, rewarding ourselves for the sincere pursuit of that thing, valuing ourselves for becoming something instead of being something and then always, always, always, focused on the long term and understanding that, just you've got to put that energy in over and over and over constantly trying to get new skills, new skills, not checking off a list that you read that book or that you created that video, but saying what skill am I trying to get better at? What am I trying to learn? What do I need to do in order to create the same that I want to create? And then the juice, the game, the obsession has got to be the pursuit of that thing, the pursuit of that thing. So that you're hype on yourself for showing up every day and saying, I'm gonna be the world's greatest online trainer, plain and simple. For me, that's so fucking exciting. Like, because remember, I don't value myself for being the greatest trainer of all time. I value myself for trying with everything that I have sincerely to become that person. And as long as I'm having fun doing that, which by the way, I highly encourage you, should love your fucking life, then as long as I'm having fun doing that, then I get what I get, but at least I'm doing what I think is the very purpose of life, which is to transform potential into usable skill. So let yourself off the hook. Don't worry about whether this is hard or it's taking a very long time, just invest in yourself every day unabashedly, going after it, finding joy in the process of turning potential into skills. All right, and next. - Hi, Tom. My name's John the Grange. I'm 32, I'm from Alberta, Canada. I am a power engineer, and currently I am working on creating an online business. Procrastination for me is indecision, trying to figure out what's most important and act on that. Lately, I've been working on writing my goals down, and even then, I feel like every time I have a very good idea, what I believe to be a very good idea, something that I feel like I'd be passionate about, I write that down, I work on it, I'm very active in it, and then also I get another great idea, and I divert my energy towards that, and I procrastinate on the next thing. And it has caused me many, many, many delays, and indecision. It's a challenge, and that's what I'm focusing on. So for me, procrastination is indecision, constantly waffling back and forth on what I feel is the right thing to work on. And if I could figure out how to work on that, and how to narrow it down, and direct all my energy at one topic that I feel is most valuable and most critical, I think that's where I'll find my success. Hopefully you can help. - Oh, I can help.

How can you focus on one thing at a time and get better at it? (33:12)

Now the question becomes, will you find the passion and the enthusiasm for the process that I'm about to lay out for you? Because it is one of iteration, it's brutal. The only thing that I think people should fear is standing still. So I've often said that running 1,000 miles an hour in the wrong direction is better than standing still. And then people say, "Tom, that's bullshit. "Now you're so far down the road, "and you've gotta redo all that shit "and start moving in the other direction." And that's where I suppose the analogy lets me down, because the reality is, when you're running in the wrong direction, you're not moving away from getting something right. You are, the only time that happens is when you refuse to analyze the data. Now, if somebody is closing their mind because the farther they go in the wrong direction, they're investing in that position, they're telling people that they're right and they're doubling down, yes, that moronic behavior is creating a bigger and bigger problem for you. But if when you're running in the wrong direction, you're like, "Hey, I am prepared. "The second I have information that tells me "that this is the wrong direction, "I will learn from that and I will immediately "start going in the right direction." Now, the good news is, you actually don't have to retread all that ground that you went on. What you're doing is now you're armed with a new piece of information that's going to let you, as Henry Ford says, begin again more intelligently. So the full Henry Ford quote is, "Failure is merely the opportunity "to begin again more intelligently." So what I want people to understand is, "Failure, mistakes, all of that, "is the most information rich data stream "you will ever encounter." Okay, let me say that again. Failure is the most information rich data stream you will ever encounter. You go and you do something wrong and you realize why it was wrong. Now, once you understand, "Oh my God, "now I know why that was never going to work "in the beginning." Now, I can get going the way that I need to go. And by the way, that new way that you're going to go is almost certainly also going to be a mistake and you're going to learn, "Oh shit, okay, "here's another piece of the puzzle." And now you're going in the right turn, the right direction, the more accurate direction, the more useful direction and you're going to get another piece of information. Okay, so you want to start thinking of mistakes and failure the way that artificial intelligence thinks of it. It's called a sample. So this wrong direction is merely a sample. You tried something, it's going to give you a piece of data. That piece of data is going to inform your next move, which is going to give you a piece of data, which is going to inform your next move. So instead of thinking about these as right or wrong mistakes, just fucking decide. Okay, let me say it again, just decide. The only thing that's stopping you is you're worried that it's wrong or you're worried there's a better way. Let me make it easy for you. It is wrong. There is a better way, but you're never going to know until you start moving. I remember Marie Forleo came on my show one time, she said, "You can't think your way to understanding something, you just have to act." And I was like, "That's fucking brilliant. It is so true." And her example was a dance class. She said she learned more in 60 seconds of actually dancing at a dance class about whether or not she wanted to be a dancer than she had in years of thinking about it. The same is true in business. You're going to learn infinitely more about whether something works by just fucking trying it than you are by thinking about it. And then from there, there's something called ice where you're going to, it's basically weighing the impact of something versus how hard it is to implement. And so you find that sweet spot of what's the thing that takes the least amount of energy for the biggest amount of impact. And that's how you prioritize. And so you can also just put things in order of that and just blindly follow ice and say, "I learned this from that, I learned that from this. Ooh, this one was a total bust, but I got this piece of information." And then you will get better and better and better at ice as you go. But everybody wants their shit to be amazing from the jump. It's not, it's all going to suck. Most of your ideas are going to be moronic. Most of your execution is going to be what a buffoon could do. But from all of that, you start to actually get good. And that's the key. Mistakes are the most information, rich, data stream, you will encounter.

References And Citations

pstv.org (37:11)

So go make some. All right. Who's up? Greetings Tom and everyone at Impact Theory, I Am, Paul and G, Radio and Television Host, Voice, Talent and Author. Okay, so procrastination. I could have five things that I intend on getting done throughout a particular day. And I'll get maybe number one, maybe number two done. And then the phone rings. And I'll justify in my head why I feel I have to answer that phone call because nine times I'd attend the phone call is relevant to what it is that I do. It could be a producer or a guest or something of that nature. So it's relative to what I have to do, but it's not like there's a deadline. Like I've got to answer this call because it's in reference to a deadline. It's just in reference to what I do. Next thing I know half the day is gone and I haven't completed what it is that I need to complete. So what are your suggestions for helping me to stay focused when that phone rings to, I don't know, ignore it. Help me out Tom, I appreciate you. All right, boys and girls, here is a PSA from your dear friend Tom. Turn off all notifications, turn them off, all of them.

Tom Bilyeu, PSA (38:25)

In my world, unless your ass is dying, in fact, even if you're dying, you can't get a hold of me. I am literally unreachable. So the only way to reach me, I wish you guys could see the person that's helping me produce this episode right now who is nodding 'cause she knows how hard it is to get a hold of me. That is the God's Un-Shruth. And I do that because I determine what my priorities are because I know what my goal is. I'm in that mistake-laden information-rich data stream. I know what I need to be doing. I need to try something, learn from it, reformulate my hypothesis, try again. I need to be in that stream of action, action, man. Not talking, not pontificating. I need to have a goal. I need to know what the important things are that are going to lead me to that goal. And then I need to be doing, doing, doing every day. So many people let other people control their fucking priorities. That's madness to me. It is fucking crazy. I cannot believe that people check email before they do something. Do you know how many emails that I've responded to in the last, let's make it crazy, in the last month? Okay, think about it. How many emails has Tom, we have a staff of like 21 people? How many emails have I responded to? Five, maybe in the last month? 10, if it's just like crazy and I'm forgetting something? That's in the last month. Now, do I miss out on opportunities because I don't check email? Absolutely. But on balance, am I way better off controlling my day, controlling what I put my time and energy into? The way I say it to people is, I want you to really ask yourself the question. When you check an email, or in this case, you answer a call, what are the odds that the person on the other end of that phone knows exactly what you should be doing at that moment to reach your goals, and they happen to call at exactly the right moment? The answer is zero. There is a zero percent chance that that person knows exactly what you need to be doing and is calling at exactly the right moment. So I don't know if it's FOMO, or if it's just the desire to not have to struggle with what people are struggling with that makes them respond to notifications, but fuck, notifications. I have them all shut off on my phone. Not, I literally, I could be staring at my phone. I wouldn't know if somebody's called me. I have to click into the phone app to see if somebody called. I have to click into my text app to see if somebody's trying to reach me. Like, I just don't fuck with notifications. That shit is crazy. I don't let other people control my time. I don't let them control my focus. Set aside some period at the end of the day or something where you go through and look at email. I get it. People are going to look at email, but Jesus. You should work. I'm going to say, if you haven't clocked six hours doing your thing, controlling your own agenda. Before you start letting other people influence your agenda, there's a real problem. And I get it. I'm even talking to the people out there like my sister who I love more than you can imagine, but oh dear God, the amount of meetings that she has, I'm like, this is crazy. You can't do this. You cannot do this. This is nuts. So boys and girls, no notifications. You got to get some structure on your day. It's madness. You should know better than anybody what you need to do to reach your goals. And that's it. I don't want to get off this horse. Like, I want to keep going. I could really get crazy, but I'll stop there. All right. That was it? That's our last question. All right. Boys and girls, there it is. Stop procrastinating. There is shit that you want to accomplish in this world. There are goals out there that trust me. If you spend the time leaning into them, they will matter to you. They will matter a lot. It is only a two-part criteria for determining your goal. One, does it excite you? Two, is it honorable? Does it serve you and other people? If it serves other people as well as yourself and you are fucking amped about it, all the other stuff is going to start falling into place, the putting rules in place, springing out of bed in the morning, really going after the acquisition of skills, facing your inadequacies, head on, turning off all your notifications, not letting other people control your time, knowing what the most important thing is you could be working on in this moment because you have failed so many times before, without a loss of self, without a loss of enthusiasm. You know what the thing is that you should be trying to see if it works next. And when you get that magical formula put in place and you wake up every day attacking your goals because you want to be the greatest of all time, the amount that you can achieve with your life is extraordinary, even if you never become one of the greats.

Closing Remarks


Because it doesn't matter. What matters is the sincere pursuit. But you're not sincerely pursuing something. If you're laying in bed, if you're talking on the phone, if you're answering an email, you're not sincerely pursuing your goals. That is the greatest joy that I could offer to anybody is to really believe in what you're pursuing and then to leave it all out on the field. The physics of being human, trust me. There is a deep, seated program running in your brain that wants you to do hardship in the service of something that you believe in. And when you start doing that baby, ooh, life gets fucking awesome. All right, everybody, thank you for joining me. Thank you for the questions. It's so huge. And I know that people put vulnerability into those bad boys. And I am eternally grateful, as is hopefully everybody else watching. Guys, until next time, be legendary. Take care. Be talking all about one of my favorite topics in this world, how to overcome any obstacle. No matter what it is you're trying to do in your life, I promise you the ability to stay in a solution-oriented mindset and to go over, under, through, around, whatever the case may be, any obstacle, that is going to be the key to winning.

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