It’s easy to look at No Excuses memes and think you gotta be that person. And you tell yourself you will, you will be hardcore starting tomorrow or after the laundry or whatever. All the time I see people’s plan riding on the fact that they’re going to be perfect later.
Procrastination and excusing are perfectionism, it’s weird but it’s true. We’re putting things off because we feel we can’t do them well enough if we do them right now. We’ll suck, and we don’t want to suck.
At the root of every excuse is a feeling that we’re not good enough at the task at hand. But, somehow, usually when we’ve bought something specific, we will be good enough later.
That’s why most of the time when people procrastinate they do something they feel a sense of mastery over, something with skills and knowledge they already have. No one procrastinates on a work out by going sky diving.
My problem is that I know that. So the weakness had to find yet another way around it which became doing something that feels like nothing. If there’s something I’m supposed to do and I know I’m not doing it I won’t let myself do something else – especially something enjoyable – so instead I wind up losing hours on the internet with a YouTube video in the background of my Twitter feed and I feel nothing.
I’m not telling myself a comforting lie like I can’t do important things until I have the right clothes or the weather is good – I’ve circumvented the impulse to make excuses because the comfort never really works and we all know it. Yet I wind up not doing things anyway.
It works for a second when you talk to others and they let you off the hook, like when you’re explaining that you didn’t go to the gym because of a documentary on elephants even though nobody asked, no one says that’s clearly a dumb excuse, friend even though you’re both thinking it.
Letting people slide with dumb excuses seems like an act of grace but that’s an excuse too. So many friendships are built on if I called you on your shit then I’d have to call myself on mine.
But when you’re alone, you know. You know you excused and procrastinated and now you need to block out those feelings too. So it’s back to anything where you don’t need to feel humble – maybe it’s the arrogance of needing to be seen doing something you’re good at or telling others you have it all figured out, or maybe it’s invisibility and feeling no one can judge you if you don’t remind them you exist. But either way it’s not humility – the willingness to be seen as you actually are.