Ya-ttitude: Mail Call

March 27, 2008 at 12:05 pm 1 comment

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I recently received this comment in regards to the Procrasti-NATION posts.

I understand where you are coming from. Yet I believe procrastination whether it’s a virtue or a vice is totally dependent on the context. In many cases, we do not like to do something and push it for later, for reasons that we understand or we don’t, somehow there would be something that holds us back…its at times like these, to go against our normal pressure to act and resolve, that I advise that we stop and ponder. Indeed, procrastination is our intuitive mechanism asking for time…and I think it’s many times wiser to listen to it.

The western concept of action and indeed mindless action and speed and goals and targets and such has created a society where time has lost its beauty and man is just a small cog in a mindless machine processing life in quantity rather than quality. So whilst, its important to do what you should and must do, its important to heed to your intuition and that small voice which asks for a delay…not listening to it may get you a small tick on your to do list, but you will never know what is lost and what could have happened had you waited.

Finally, procrastination would have saved billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives if Bush had procrastinated… hundreds of lives would have been saved had those cops not shot first and looked later in tense situations…

This crazy need for speed and to get things done has its rewards but also has its costs, which we don’t or do not want to calculate…procrastination would indeed help the world to consider life more peacefully and holistically.

           Harish

My first reaction was that this was more a “poking fun” email at the whole Procrastination theory.  But boy was I wrong.  This is a serious email, from a serious member of the Card-Carrying Cartel of Procrasti-NATION.  This is a big one boys and girls.  I am going to have at it, and then I want to read what you have to say about it as well!

Vice or virtue; totally dependent on context:

Imagine that – vices could be shrugged off based on context – too cool.  Better not tell my wife though.  Procrastination is what it is – putting off till a later time what you should be doing now; but for purposes of this email – let me define procrastination…

pro�cras�ti�nate audio� (pr-krst-nt, pr-)

To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness.

Still say – please do not tell my wife – because if I can get away with carelessness or laziness and pass it off as a virtue – man-oh-man would my life become a waste!  But a virtuous waste! 

So in what context can we say that being lazy or careless becomes a virtue? I am still thinking…

     Push it off till later: Sometimes we know why – Sometimes we don’t:

Well at least we are staying cognizant.  I know that many people argue the point that “everything that happens does not have to have a reason.”  But this is really pushing the point.  I think we are confusing instinct, or gut feelings maybe even, dare I say, intuition with procrastination.  There is a huge difference.  Stopping to think over a situation is not a crime, nor is it procrastination.  Pushing that situation off to another time, because we just do not feel like doing it – that is procrastination.  I agree, we need to listen to those inner voices and feelings.  As we grow more and more experienced those voices and feeling become better and better at warning us about things to think twice about.  Is that procrastination by decision – I think not!

   Mindless actions of  Western Culture/ Lost Beauty / Small Cogs and what we may have missed out on:

There is definitely a lot to ponder there; so one step at a time.  One of the first traits of a successful person – and that does not matter how you decide to define your own success – is to define your goals and give them targeted dates.  Whether you are aspiring to be a Doctor or working on your tan at the beach – both as a set goal and time table if you are going to be successful at it.  Staying out to long in the sun and you get burned – so that mindlessness that you went with – as opposed to creating a plan of action and a set time table – well it did not work well did it now? 

I wonder why anyone would think about not watching a great sunset or your children growing up.  If you successfully plan out your days, weeks and life – you miss nothing.  Try a Basic plan like creating a three-part day is a great place to start.  8hrs of work, 8 hrs of sleep and 8 hrs to enjoy life – however you see fit – great place to start.   I work hard, I have plans and goals and aims, I try my hardest to not put anything off (I mean we are all human) but I do not allow the beauty in my life to be lost.  Baseball games with the boys (even Wrestlemania this weekend – In Orland0 – wonder if that can be construed as a waste of time – But it is my time with the kids – so beauty gained – not lost) college-searching with my daughter and sunsets at the pool with my wife – all great things to do, and they even are part of my plan.  I read great books at lunch and enjoy a great cup of coffee and some Florida sunshine – and still get my work done.  One of the great ways to accomplish this is to try to do that ONE item on you to-do list that you really do not want to do as your first item of the day – every day.  Try if for one month – and watch how easily it became habit and now is the way you start your day.  Once the crap is out of the way – every day is a grand day! 

You’re a small cog – when you think small.  Think Big, plan big, work big and you will be the engine that runs it all, not just a jammed gear in the workings. 

I wonder – if I waited and missed out – would I know?  Just as easy an arguable point as waiting to find out what it was I missed out on.  Odds are I missed out on an opportunity that I cannot get back.  And if you acted and made a mistake – so what – you learned, you got up, brushed yourself of and went back to work, smarter for the event.  It is a rare occasion that greater things happen from waiting – success does not wait for anyone – it has its own fast-acting time table – catch it before it passes you by!

Billions of dollars and thousands of lives – shoot first, ask questions later!

I really am not going to bring my political stance or anyone else’s into this argument – not fair and not going to get us anywhere.  Hind sight is a wonderful tool.  It allows all the procrastinators to sit on there middle of the fence and point at all those on either side screaming “I told you so!”  How many lives would have been lost if we did not invade?  I do not know – would history have gone in another direction – would Iraq have acquired weapons powerful enough to do some real Mid-East damage?  Would he have lit the match that started a war in the Middle East without America’s involvement?  I do not know and neither do you – and those great experts.  This I can say – we have the best system of Government in the World, and the people doing what they do best did what they thought was best, we put them there to do it and they did.  I am not going to go any further on the political front.  But – check history for wars and battles started because of the inability to make a clear cut decision and those that never happened because one was made!

Cops that shot first – another touchy subject.  I have quite a few friends who are police.  I wonder if I received a phone call from one of their wives or kids telling me to come to their funeral because he did not shoot first – how I would feel.  We live in a tough world.  I cannot count how many fewer people would be dead or how many more would be if you asked first vs. shot first – and the real tough part there – is neither can anyone else. 

You can not calculate the many things in life – but what you can be sure of – there is no advantage to waiting till tomorrow to do something that you could have gotten finished today – easy – to paraphrase your context:  You waste time – you let the beauty pass YOU by – because you have to do it tomorrow – when you could have been enjoying your day!

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Ya-ttitude: Battle Lines are Drawn Ya-ttitude: Give and Take

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Harish Nair  |  March 31, 2008 at 4:31 am

    Hi Benny,

    Hi Benny,
    You sure have put a lot of thought into it. And for most part I am with you in your arguments.
    However, it’s imperative for me to point out that taking an elephant apart and examining its various body parts separately and viewing it simply as a whole living elephant are two completely different things. And the conclusions you may arrive at would also be vastly different too using both these approaches. Hence I request you to analyze what is being said very holistically.
    Further, defining procrastination narrowly as putting off things due to carelessness and laziness is ok, in a narrow context, but if we do find ourselves procrastinating about some very big issues, it’s wiser to go deeper and find out the source of our reluctance.
    So you are right when it’s a matter of daily operational decisions, that to procrastinate would be unwise, but when it comes to the really big things, the same does not apply.
    The moot point of my arguments has been to highlight how we are predisposed and prejudiced towards actions, even sometimes against our intuition, and how that can sometimes lead to disastrous consequences. And Benny, have you heard of the term called ‘proactively waiting’? Here it takes a completely different belief system to understand the power of time and what it can do.
    I also feel that we could be on either sides of the spectrum on this because of our cultural differences. So let me reiterate a few points.
    On small everyday operational matters, I am with you and against procrastination, simply because it’s useless. Rather dive into it and do it. And I have said so in my arguments.
    On issues where we delay for reasons unknown, or when the consequences of action could be quite profound, it’s very important to listen carefully to our intuition and not give in to our predisposition to act. If indeed we are feeling lazy or not up to it to do something, it would do us well do dig deeper to find out what is causing us to pause. It will perhaps lead us to the real source of our hesitation.
    Here the consequences of acting would be far more dangerous than not acting. Kindly also examine how good we feel we take action, but for that minor satisfaction, we may create stuff which could harm us more.
    Hope this does clarify the thought process and ambiguity if any. I chose not to break down the argument piece by piece because it distorts the meaning of the message.

    Best Regards,
    Harish Nair

    Best Regards,

    Harish Nair

    Reply

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