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A personal story to share…

Life is exhausting at times.

Especially when we’re dealing with a real global health threat.

Especially when we’re dealing with other new things, like… social distancing, “safer at home” orders, homeschooling kids, working virtually, etc.

It’s all hard.

Knowing how to run our mind is important all the time, but it’s even more important when we’re facing difficult times.

This is when the skill of managing your attention becomes even more helpful.

For those trying to work with your thinking, my quick advice to you is to be much MUCH gentler with yourself.

Please give up on being “perfectly present.”

You don’t need to stay in the present all the time.

Consistently staying present hasn’t been done by anyone. Not the Buddha, not the Dalai Lama, not anyone. It’s not how we’re built.

Once we see that moving our attention works to feel differently, our mind seems to go: “Great! Now all I need to do is do this all the time! Then it’ll be perfect. Then I’ll be fine…”

But this creates another “there” we need to get to. The expectation, or hope for permanent presence becomes another attachment.

It’s another way to take the “not enough” of this moment, and somehow get “there” where it’s all better.

But we know that formula… it’s the formula for suffering.

That’s the important thing to see here.

The consistent way our mind critiques this moment and decides “it’s not enough” is another form of suffering, it’s a resistance to “what is.”

We need to choose this moment over and over again as a PRACTICE.

Please don’t let that imply that you’ll stay in the moment all the time, or that it will all be easy, or that you’ll ever do it perfectly.

You won’t. Not all the time, not even a lot of the time.

It’s ok to relax. It’s ok to think. You don’t need to be present constantly.

You can let your mind go… but as you notice your thinking coming to the moments that are hard, THEN wake up. In that moment, see the thought, and move your attention.

Will you need to do it again? Yep! So do it again.

Move your attention to your breath, your body, your sensations.

Not all the time, but definitely when you see that you’re caught by a thought.

With self love, and gentle work, you’ll start doing it more and more naturally. The neurons in your brain will start strengthening around new ways of making meaning.

It WILL get easier.

This is why it’s helpful to keep a practice, so your mind continues to learn about moving your attention around. Then when you need it, the skill is there, ready for use.

But, let’s be honest…

This becomes much more difficult when life is legitimately “bad.”

When tragedy strikes…

When we wake up to an addiction that has been wired into our system and we now have chosen to resist it…

When someone breaks our heart…

When we’re lonely…

When work is scary, or tough, or doesn’t seem to pay enough…

When we lose our job…

It’s really hard!

Those are not all the moments, even though it can feel like that when we’re experiencing them.

Life will be “bad” sometimes, for sure… but the key is learning how to be resilient.

It’s important to know that we’re not trying to be perfect and we’re not trying for easy either. We’re trying to do what works in the moment and long term.

The move that works all the time, every time, is moving your attention in the moment.

The skill to have in everyday life is the skill of consciously moving your attention.

I remember “waking up” to the fact that I wasn’t in control of my thoughts.

Before having any kind of mindfulness training, I tried to focus on my breath for ten breaths, and I was horrible at it. This was a huge epiphany for me, and it also freaked me out.

This was a wake up for me for sure. I learned: “Wow! I am not actually thinking these thoughts.”

The next thing that happened was a mistake…

I thought that once I could have a little more mastery over my thoughts that I could achieve perfection, or something like it… that I could “master” thought.

I should be able to move my attention and leave it somewhere (like on my breath). So I worked really hard at it, and I got better and better at it.

But my mistake was this…

I started feeling bad every time a thought would pop up. Like I was failing at the “waking up” I was doing.

Thoughts became “bad” and presence became “good.”

But thoughts aren’t bad, thoughts are thoughts. They arise all on their own.

The big epiphany, the second level awakening, came when I realized how that impulse to be thoughtless was just another desire… another attachment.

What happened next was funny.

I started to see that it was all perfectly imperfect.

When a thought would come up, and I would have that impulse to be mad about it, I would “wake up” to that and LAUGH.

Saying to myself, “There I am doing it again, expecting perfection. Hahaha…” and that was a much more useful “wake up.”

While your thinking can get much “better,” you are still not thinking your thoughts.

All you can do in the moment is deal with them when they come up. As you do, it will work in that moment. It does every time, and you’ll get better at it over time.

You don’t have to be perfect.

In fact the desire for that is just another thought, another attachment.

The act of loving yourself is the act of loving your imperfections. You exactly as you are.

The act of loving life is loving the imperfections of life. Life exactly as it is.

I know it is hard when it’s hard. I also know it’s beautiful when it’s beautiful. And it’s fun when it’s fun.

I hope that helps all of us.

Life is exhausting at times. I’m sorry if this is one of those times.

If you’re working on waking up, that effort alone lets me say to you: “Good job. You’re doing great!”

Be gentle with yourself and keep showing up.

It’s not about perfect, just do your best.

Be kind to yourself, and everyone else.

Rob :)

How to Manage Your Levels of Gratification…

Balancing the desire for instant gratification is a crucial skill. We’re not going to be successful if we live in the “extremes.” Sustainability is the key.

There are obvious issues with over indulging in instant gratification. But what’s the danger in landing too hard on the other side? What happens if we only experience delayed gratification?

When we have too much control, or seriously restrict pleasurable behaviors, we can become equally unhealthy.

Think about the analogy of someone struggling with anorexia. Someone constantly delaying gratification to the extreme. What happens to someone who never gives in to the pleasure of eating food? They will experience serious health issues and may even die.

The bigger challenge here is to find the “proper balance of gratification.”

It’s important to practice maintaining a healthy balance of what is “too much” and what is “not enough.” We want to learn how to find joy and beauty in the present moment, and be able to grow over time.

Most of us need to find the right balance with our impulse control. Doing that and having an appreciation for the present moment will change your life.

Check out the full episode here.

A Simple Trick to Manage Your Attention

Always Struggling to Keep Up? There’s One Surprising Mistake You’re Making – It’s Not About Productivity!

What are you paying attention to right now? You might notice a bit of irony in that question.

See, most human beings are so focused on what’s to come or what’s already happened that the one thing they’re NOT paying attention to is what’s happening right now.

In this video, I explain how this mental model – that you probably fall into ALL THE TIME – is actually causing that nagging feeling of “I’m Not There Yet.” And if this isn’t you, then I can guarantee that many people in your life are struggling with this same issue. Listen for some quick insight for how to help somebody who’s stuck “anywhere but here.”

Full podcast episode can be found here.

The One Idea That Could Change Everything…

I want to write about the POWER of working with a COACH.

By the end of this post, you should have a clear understanding of how coaching can benefit you, why others say you need to work with a coach, and the one idea that could change everything for you…

But let’s start with talking about YOU.

You are inventing your reality with the stories you tell yourself. You are manifesting your own reality.

Tell good stories, have a good life. Tell bad stories, have a bad life. (Maybe a really bad one.)

This means you can create a very different life. As soon as you discover how to change your thinking… The “meaning” that you’re making with your thoughts. So, quick question for you: How do you like your reality?

One of the things I specialize in is mindset mastery. In all the years I’ve been coaching I’ve realized something… almost everyone thinks changing thought is difficult (or even impossible).  But it’s actually easy, immediate, and automatic once you know how.

So let’s talk about how you can gain way more control over your mindset. Let’s start to master your seemingly unruly “meaning making” brain. Stick with me because I’m not talking about anything mystical or “woo-woo” here…

I’m simply talking about the regular thoughts you have going on on a daily basis.

Let’s be clear on a few things:

  1. Your thoughts create your feelings.
  2. Your feelings create your behaviors.
  3. Your behaviors create your results.  (Period.)

See how thinking is actually the source of how you create your entire reality?

If you change a behavior, but don’t change your thinking or how you feel about things… Chances are not much will change in your life. And the behavior most likely won’t stick.

(Ever start a habit only to quit days, or hours, later?)

But if you change your thinking… Really change it… That changes everything. Especially if you change it in the WAY I show you. See it’s not WHAT you need to think, instead it’s discovering HOW to think in a very different, elevated way.

Once you learn HOW to think in this higher way, you can forever manufacture the things you most want: happiness, courage, and massive action.

(This is actually what we should be teaching people in schools.)

It’s that delusion that keeps you anxious, depressed, stuck in a cycle of procrastination. It keeps you from feeling the way you want to feel and acting the way you want to act.

We need a shift our sense of “self,” our identity, who we are at the core.  The meaning making machine itself.

Remember how I said your thoughts create feelings, feelings create behavior, and behaviors create your results? Well guess what changes when you change your identity. Your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors ALL CHANGE.

Which means, you show up completely different in the world. Immediately getting different results. It begins with mental mastery. It begins with learning how to make NEW meanings. It begins with seeing through different “lenses” (more on lenses later). It ends with getting different results.

Sometimes, even when you’re aware that you NEED CHANGE, you can still find that you struggle getting RESULTS for yourself.

One way you can assure that you’ll get RESULTS is by working with a coach.

Here’s what Bill Gates has to say about this… 

The opening line is “Everybody needs a coach.”

And then at 1:07 you’ll hear: “Every famous athlete, every famous performer, has somebody who’s a coach…” -Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman, Alphabet/Google)

Let’s assume these guys may be onto something.

I want to explain the power of working with a coach. Not just in personal development, but in any area where you’re trying to succeed.

Here are some reasons a coach can help:

Different Perspectives:

There are some things you just can’t see. Getting someone else’s perspective is crucial when the gap is outside your ability to see it. Sometimes we just don’t know what we don’t know.

Find Focus Amidst Overload:

We’re flooded with information these days. From many places, and it’s CONSTANT. Knowledge is fast and knowledge is free.

You “know” a lot. You can find any information you want (pretty much). But more and more of us are finding we’re not able to make the progress with information alone. You may know exactly WHAT to do, but you don’t know HOW to do it. Or you may even know how, but for some reason you’re not applying what you KNOW.

Accountability:

Do you know how nice it is to set some tangible goals with someone? Then have that someone keep you accountable to what matters most? That alone can change the game.

Skill Development:

Whether you’re learning how to play Bridge, Golf or how to run a Huge Business – there are skills involved. A good coach should be able to help you develop the important skills you’ll need.

Shortcuts:

This one may be my favorite – both to get from a coach and to give as a coach. New knowledge!

There are shortcuts in this life. Some people know certain secrets. Getting the tips, tricks and shortcuts is really valuable. A good coach should have a bunch of these waiting for you.

What should we expect from investing in a coach?

In a word: VALUE.

It needs to pay you back. That may be in money, but it may not.

If you hire a marketing coach. It should lead to more leads. A sales coach should lead to more closes. If it’s a personal development coach, they should be able to “fix the pain” your current life is leading to.

If you’re suffering, think of what the COST of that suffering is.

If you had persistent physical pain in your gut, and a single $100 pill could fix it, would it be worth it? I mean $100 for ONE PILL is a LOT of money. Many people wouldn’t pay that for a single pill, just on principle.

But what if you never fix that daily pain in your gut? What if for the rest of your life, you hurt every day? What’s the real cost of that?!?

Think of all the other things you’re conditioned to pay $100 for, over and over again. How many tanks of gas is that? How many diners out? How much of your weekly grocery run?

We spend money all the time on the other things without a thought. But because the pill is a new expense, one you’re not used to, maybe you don’t do it and you keep suffering.

Hmmm… That may not be the shortest path to awesome.

The point is. The coaching you invest in needs to be valuable. So how do you pick?

While coaching may be valuable, I want to be clear on one thing:

NOT ALL COACHES CAN HELP YOU.

(In fact, most probably can’t.)

Which brings me to the Bell Curve Theory. 

You can apply the bell curve to any area of talent. Talent will always distribute on some form of a bell curve:

The majority of talent will be average. Some people will be exceptional. They are the very best at what they do. And some people shouldn’t be doing the job at all. They are the worst at what they do.

This applies to any field whether it be doctors, lawyers, car mechanics, or coaches. Some are awesome.

Some… not so much.

How expensive will it be?

The cost of working with better coaches will be more money. It SHOULD be more money.  They get a better result, and they get it faster. Why pay someone money who gets no result, or even hurt the situation?

(Insert guy, in his 40’s living at home with his mother…)

“Mom! I can’t seem to find work anywhere! I don’t know why no one wants to hire me. You know what… I’m going to be a Life Coach!!!”

In an industry where anyone can hang a sign out on the internet and call themselves a coach, you’ll want to be careful. Credentials aren’t much help here either. The same guy could be getting certified, and passing the “coaching test.” All while he still hasn’t figured out his own life yet.

So credentials don’t always mean what we hope they mean. So how can you tell who to work with?

One great way: Look to what other people say about working with them.

Whoever you choose to work with should have testimonials. Verified information about them from OTHER sources. It’s not valuable if I tell you “I’m the best coach in the world.” But if tons of others say so, then maybe there’s really something there.

Let’s wrap this rant up…

First:

Everyone should have a coach. So says Bill Gates.

When you think of the “best of the best,” those at the very top of their game. How do you think they got to where they are? Maybe they had exceptional talent. Maybe they had tons of willpower. Maybe they got a “lucky break.”

Whatever the reason, chances are they also worked with a coach.

Next:

Coaching applies to everyone, not just those at the top. Coaches are beneficial all the way down to a pee-wee soccer league. As humans we learn from others and don’t excel in a vacuum.

There are tons of areas where a coach can help.

I listed a handful above:

  • Perspective
  • Focus
  • Accountability
  • Skill development
  • Shortcuts

This list could easily be expanded. And you don’t need all these to get huge value. Getting help in any of single area can be very helpful.

Next:

Only work with a solid coach.

Find someone good. Don’t pick from the “talentless side” of the bell curve. Certifications may not matter as much as you think. So make sure others have said they’re good.

A talented coach may cost a little more, but it will be WORTH IT.

So… Is it time for YOU to work with a coach?

If it is I’d be flattered if you’d consider working with me.

If you don’t choose me as your coach, that’s ok too. But work with someone!  

While no one (including me!) WANTS a coach, the good ones really do help.

And a good coach could be the one difference that turns your entire life around.

You’ll Never Have REAL Success Without This

I have a couple quick questions for you…

Do you continuously chase one goal right after the next? Are you waiting for things to be good “some day?”

I’ve got a little secret for you. There is no “some day.” There’s no such thing.

It’s always NOW.

 

Imagine an ultra-billionaire CEO. His business is thriving and he’s swimming in money. But what does the rest of his life look like? How would you imagine his relationships are with his family? How is his health? Does he manage stress well? Does he have passion and purpose in his life?

If he’s got these other areas under control, that’s amazing. But if he doesn’t, it might be the saddest story ever told.

Because he may have more money than he can spend, but if he’s miserable I would say he’s failing. He may be financially successful, but I wouldn’t call that REAL success.

There’s two things going on to have real success: We want to master both “being and doing.”

“Doing” is mastering the science of success. It’s incredibly important but without also learning the art of fulfillment (or “being”) we’re never going to arrive at real satisfaction. We’re always going to be stuck on the “treadmill of time.”

Being present and happy is like a groove in the brain that atrophies if we don’t use it. And while many of us chase financial success we let the ability to feel joy and happiness start to disappear. And then when we do find financial success, we find we’re unable to feel happy because we never grooved that ability into the pathways of our brain.

If you aren’t making a point to be happy while you are pursuing your goals, you will find it harder and harder to ever be happy. Happiness and fulfillment don’t exist somewhere out there in the future. They need to be arrived at in the now.

So if you don’t learn how to be present and fully arrived, then you’ll miss the most important part of life. The actual joy. But if you get good at feeling joy in this moment, then you have a real shot at mastering both the art of fulfillment and the science of success.

And that’s what REAL success looks like.

If you want to hear my full talk, you can find it here.

The Power of Story

Looking at today’s news headlines, there appears to be a lot of uncertainty and anxiety in our world.

In many ways it seems like we are more divided than ever.

How did it get this way?

It relates to the concept of “story.”

Whether we are conscious of it or not, many of us are running a story called, “We are separate”.

Are you running this story?

Check out this 2 minute clip to find out…

If you want to hear the full talk click here.

Where do you find yourself running the story of, “I’m separate”.

What would happen if you started looking for the ways you are connected instead?

I think it would alter our reality and change the world we live in.

What if you looked at the person walking past you on the street and searched for commonalities instead of automatically list your differences? What would that feel like for you? What do you think it might feel like for them?

What if you sought out ways to connect with people instead of distance yourself? How would that change your life?

If we all put more of our attention on connection I think there would be less war, less political tension, more unified causes, healthier relationships, etc.

The power of changing our “story” is really the key to changing our reality.

The 4 Stages of Consciousness

Your mind basically runs everything.

Our minds are what drive how we feel about things.  They control how we make meaning.  They either allow us to focus or not.  And oddly, we don’t get an instruction manual on how to run these minds of ours.

So what do we do?

We need to learn a single distinction, and then understand how that breaks into “levels of consciousness.”

See, many people have a core problem of not being able to distinguish between being aware of their thinking and not being aware of their thinking.  Being unaware means we don’t control our mind which often leads to feeling out of control, reactive and lost.

So the main distinction is this:  Can you tell when you’re thinking and when you’re not?

It’s really that simple.  But let’s break it down even further. If you watch the video above you’ll be able to see where you fit in the four different “Levels of Consciousness.” Let me list them for you here:

  • Level 1:  Not realizing you are thinking.  Unable to mediate.  Completely unaware.  Thought runs you.
  • Level 2:  You can tell you are thinking, but don’t have any idea what to do about it.  Thought is still the driving force. You’re more aware, but not at all in control.

(The important shift happens here – you discover the difference between thought and experience.)

  • Level 3:  You can tell the difference between thought and experience. You have the ability to stop thought, and you have some practice with the mind.
  • Level 4:  You gain mastery over thought and form a different relationship with your experience across your entire life. You now use thought as an incredibly powerful tool.  You enjoy happiness, peace, confidence, focus and presence on a daily basis.

Now, learning to be aware of your thoughts may not seem like a big deal.  But I can tell you, it’s the biggest deal you get to experience.  Being “lost in thought” may as well be the definition of suffering.

So I want to share a way that you can work on this for about a week, and gain a huge breakthrough in this area.  A breakthrough that will change the rest of your life.

I put together a completely FREE 7 day “Back to Breath” challenge for you.  

Each day you will get interesting and counterintuitive ways to “wake up” from the traps of your mind. It’s going to be simple to do and packed with daily tips for what to try. You’ll even get a visualization or two, and get to join our community of people who are all waking up.

If you’re interested in taking on the challenge, send us an email and we’ll help you get signed up.

Whether you’re experienced meditator, or you just want to check out the simplest way to “move up a level or two,” you’ll get a lot out of doing this.

Imagine a world where you are NOT lost in thought.  Imagine really waking up.

Hope to hear from you.

Rob  :)

Rob Scott – Talks at Google

I want to share something amazing with you. I recently took a cross country trip to do something I’ve never done before.

I was invited to give a “Talk at Google,” which is kind of like a Ted Talk but, you know, at Google. So, I had the chance to present “my material” to an audience of Google employees – right inside their main office.

What’s it like being right in the heart of Google? Amazing, actually. There’s video conferencing screens on virtually every wall. The vibe is incredibly cerebral, everyone deep in thought and focused on their work, obviously doing cool stuff. Food pods seem to be every 30 yards or so, and they have workout space that has to rival NFL pro teams. I was blown away.

Here’s the video to check out my talk (please jump over to Youtube, like it, and comment when you check it out):

There’s no question that Google is at the forefront of the movement for a more connected planet. They’re driving massive changes right now in how human beings interact with one another in the outside world.

So I was incredibly excited to talk with them about how we make internal change happen.

If you’ve been following my stuff at all, you know I’m a huge advocate for finding fulfillment and mastering our inner game while making external changes. Why? Because our potential for success is ultimately limited by our beliefs and our internal view of the world.

Our ability to impact and improve the world around us is hugely impacted by our control over our own mental state. The less freedom you have over the choices you make, the less good you’ll be able to do for others.

Here’s the promise I made to the people at Google:

“You all want to make a difference… This time should make a difference. So let’s open to the possibility that this talk could profoundly change you.”

Listen, I know you’re busy just like all those Googlers. So I’ll make the same promise to you…

Set your intention for change when you carve out the space to watch this. Get rid of all your distractions just for an hour or so. Bring your full awareness to this, and get ready to begin your journey toward a deeply fulfilling and productive life.

Please let me know how it goes for you in the comments.

PS – OK, I can’t not share this. I met a lot of cool people at Google, but one of the coolest had to be Chade-Meng Tan. He’s Google’s “Jolly Good Fellow” (yes, that’s his actual job title) and just got nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize! I definitely recommend you check him out. Just Google him ;)

Meng and Rob at Google

Meng and Rob at Google

States vs. Stages

I want to talk quickly about how one core mistake we make leads to tons of sorrow for so many of us.  I’m also going to suggest a super simple focus in life that immediately fixes the mistake and leads to sanity, joy, and deep fulfillment.

To understand the mistake we humans make, we need to understand the difference between “states” and “stages” in life.  To explain them, I’m going to walk you through a process that I learned from a guy named Genpo Roshi (his American name is Dennis Merzel).  The process is called the “Big Mind Process.”

Let’s try my (way oversimplified) version of the “Big Mind Process” really quickly:

  1. While sitting in your chair I’d like you to lean over onto your right cheek. Hold this position, and think about a time in your life when you were a victim. In that position, go ahead and step into “victim.”  Really think about a time that you were hurt, that you’ve been held down. Everyone in the world can recall at least one moment when they were a victim.
  2. Now, move your position and take on another identity.  Turn your head a bit, shift over to your left cheek and think about a time you were heroic. You don’t have to be Superman, just think of a time you did something good or helped someone out in a major way.  Be “hero” for just a second.
  3. Now, sit comfortably in your seat on both cheeks. Just relax here and feel “joy.”  Connect with gratitude for something in your life and for a moment be joyful.
  4. Now, lean back a little deeper in your chair.  Put it all down.  Don’t be a victim, don’t be a hero, be nothing…  Literally sit in the moment and just breathe.

When Genpo Roshi leads you in his practice, he literally takes you to a place of full non-duality.  It’s profound, and I highly recommend doing his practice, but that’s not my focus here.  Here I just want to explain the difference between states and stages.

You see states are our states of “being.”  They are our feelings in the moment.  They are our emotional states, our dream states, even our drug induced states.  They come in no particular order, and in fact can often feel a little chaotic.  They are not time based.  You are what you are, and you can be something different in an instant.

Can you see in Genpo Roshi’s process how, with a little bit of your own agreement, you can transfer instantly into those different states of being? Just about every person in the world is familiar with these identities, because they are universal states of being alive: happy, sad, victim, hero, etc.

Stages are a little different…

Genpo couldn’t say something like, “Now shift in your chair and be… billionaire.”  Or “Move your position, shift in your seat and be… neurosurgeon.”  He couldn’t universally invite us to “be our inner scratch golfer.”

You either are a neurosurgeon, or you’re not.  You either have a billion dollars or you don’t.  You’re either a par level golfer, or you’re not.

Unlike states of being, such as happiness and fear, neurosurgeon and master golfer are stages of development along certain lines (or areas) of life.  And you don’t know that level of that line (the stage) unless you’re really at it.

Plain and simple… you’re not a medical doctor until you complete medical school.

What’s more, stages, unlike states, are in time.  Meaning they take time to achieve. Excellence along any line can take years of focus, if you ever get there at all.  And, it’s important to point out:  stages always unfold in a certain order.

You don’t start out as an expert and progress further down a line to intermediate, finally finishing your career as a beginner. That is not how stages unfold.  They always go the other way.

Do you see it yet?  Do you get the core mistake?

The core mistake is this:  We think that our states depend on our stage.  It’s the belief that I’ll be happier, better, more fulfilled if I get to “that level” over there.

People make a mistake in thinking they will become some magically new person when they reach a better or more advanced stage. They often feel they will deserve more when they “become” a better business person, or develop a different body, or whatever. This becomes a cruel joke after working so hard to develop along a certain line. Because sadly, we bring all our emotional states along with us when we reach a new stage.

You see, it’s really the states we want, not the stages.  But we think it’s in the stages.  But the billionaire that never learned how to love still feels depressed, alone and basically like crap.  The new stage doesn’t guarantee a thing.

You are not your stage.  Stages are an external framework, not your identity. They are a map, a judgement, of where you are on some line.  While useful for seeing how we’re doing along a certain line of development, we need to get the fact that they are not us.

More importantly, we need to be ok being what we are.  It is completely ok to be a beginner.

Whether in business or relationships, sports or studies, we all start out as a beginner. Doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, an intermediate, an expert…  all are perfect.  Just be what you are.  Our sadness comes from us resisting what we are, wishing we were more.  Happiness comes now, when we love what is.

The whole point is that you are deserving right now, right here.  Fully deserving of all the happiness you want.  Not only deserving, but capable of HAVING anything you want right now.  What we really desire is to feel happy, connected, and loved – those are all states, not stages.  Your worth and your goodness in who you are is not dependent on what stage you’re at.

So here’s the important distinction, and the easy focus:

Don’t disagree with what is.

Don’t be afraid or ashamed to be YOU.  Whatever stage you are at is fine, and as soon as YOU make it ok, wonderful states of being pour in.

Did you get that?  Love where you are and something great happens – you become joyful.  If you fear that this might slow down your development along stages, well, that’s just silly.  We don’t stop growing.  Our desire to “become more” will not be stopped.  We just learn to enjoy the ride.  Within that enjoyment, we learn faster, make better decisions, and ultimately sit in gratitude and happiness NOW, instead of waiting for a fictitious future when we finally get “there.”  (There is no “there.”  We’re always HERE.)

Live by this, and you’ll be deeply happy, successful and probably pretty popular as well.

The Secret Formula That Makes You Procrastinate

Many people who procrastinate have tons and tons of potential. Are you one of those people? Do you know that you could do so much more if you only found a way to apply yourself?

Do you ever start things, and sometimes even get a lot done, only to drop the project to start something else? Does your procrastination spiral once it starts, getting worse as things pile up?

I often hear from people that they think they might just be “lazy.” And if lazy simply means avoiding things, then that may be true in the moment. But I want to suggest that you’re probably not “genetically lazy.” There may be more going on for you behaviorally, and even psychologically.

But these are things you can change.

Let me share one of the biggest “ah-ha’s” I’ve ever had as to my own procrastination. I got it from an important formula I found in a book called “Procrastination: Why You Do It and What To Do About It” by Jane Burka and Lenora Yuen.

The formula is this: Self Worth = Ability = Performance

I spoke about procrastination and the formula I’m about to share on a recent group coaching call.  Listen in here:

[audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/robscott/procrastination-group-call.mp3]

If this formula ends up being true for you, it can make you procrastinate, a lot! Let’s look at this formula a little more closely…

What defines our worth as people? Many people would like to say that our worth is inherent; that just because we are here, we are worthy. While that is a nice idea, many of us don’t really feel that way. Often we feel that it is our ability as people that defines our worth as people.

If I am able, I am also worthy.

So if you are someone who is able to “bring food home to the tribe,” it makes sense that you might consider yourself, and be considered by others, as “worthy.” If you have ability at almost any skill whether it’s making money, dating, or even water polo (if that’s your thing) then people have reason to consider you worthy. Right or wrong, the idea of *ability* being related to our *worth* as people seems to logically follow this line of thinking.

OK, ability seems to define self worth to some degree. So how is “ability” measured?

Well *performance* makes sense as an indicator of ability. If you perform well at something like gathering food for a tribe, or making money, or getting dates, your *performance* in whatever area shows that you have *ability* in that area. Nothing too illogical here.

Performance seems to define ability. So the entire formula explained directly is this: If you perform well, you have ability. If you have ability, you are considered worthy. So on some level your worth as an individual can be perceived to relate directly to your performance.

Self Worth = Ability = Performance

So how does this relate to procrastination? Well, if this is true for you, you may use procrastination unconsciously to manage the pressure that performing well can create for you. If a bad performance means you are not worthy as a person, then the performance, whatever it is, has a awful lot riding on it, wouldn’t you say?

Let me say that again:

If your self worth is dependent on your performance then there is a huge amount of pressure on your performance. So you will then look for ways to alleviate that pressure!

Here’s where procrastination comes in: People often use procrastination as a way to break the connection between self worth and performance. And this usually occurs unconsciously!

Essentially, it becomes easier to say “I could have done so much better if only I had not waited so long to start, or been just a little more organized, or tried a little harder…” than it is to risk performing our best and failing.

Procrastination gives us the excuse, the very reason that we didn’t perform our best. This breaks the formula! This leaves our self worth in tact! Your potential is still unlimited because this time you really didn’t fully try.

So how did we get the idea that self worth equals performance to begin with?

Did your parents ever treat you differently when you got good grades? Did they get you an ice cream cone when your team won the little league game? Did they scold you or tell you you should have done better when you failed at something or brought home bad grades?

These examples may not even touch it. For many of us worse things happened related to bad performance. Many parents guilt and shame children into certain behaviors. Of course, some of these actions are natural for parents, and obviously happen all the time. But there are many ways to get the sense that our performance is directly related to our worth. And when that happens we tend to put too much value and judgement on our performance as people.

Procrastination often becomes a tool we use to protect ourselves if our self worth isn’t inherent and deeply solid. Self worth is a huge topic, and again is completely related to most cases of serious procrastination.

I plan to write you more about self worth and why so many of us have such a hard time with it. It’s important to realize also that this may be true for you even if you don’t think it is at this time! We often have things about our selves that we keep in the “shadow,” and this character trait may be just that. But I’ll write more about that later. For now I just want to restate my main point:

When you link your performance to your self worth you give yourself a great reason to use procrastination.

So what do you do about it?

The first thing is to become aware that this may be happening at all.

Would you rather be someone who avoids doing most things because you are afraid of failing? Or would you rather be deeply self assured and able to try tons of different things no matter the outcome? Have you ever passed on something fun to do because you thought you might not be good at it?

Someone who is truly OK with who they are goes out and does things for the joy of doing them, rather than the value attached to the outcome.

Do you want to be someone who can follow through on things? Do you want to be someone who gives it their best (or maybe not even their best), and is deeply OK with the result? Do you think you’d get more accomplished if you were to stop sabotaging yourself? Do you think it would improve your performance if you stopped quitting things right before they get good?

Basically, if you want to stop procrastinating, you may need to realize that often it’s better to do, and to try, even if you might fail.

I hope this idea is as helpful for you as it was for me.