This is part four of a multi-part series on taking action in the month of May.
Click here to read Part 1.
Click here to read Part 2.
Click here to read Part 3.
Maybe you’re accusing me of pushing you too hard with this Take Action Challenge thing. Maybe you’re resentful that I want you to start moving towards your dreams and your goals. Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, hmm, how can I guarantee that I will accomplish nothing by the end of the year?”
If you are one of these people, then this post is for you. I have compiled a list of tried-and-true methods that millions and millions of people use every day to stall out, get stuck, and keep proving to themselves that taking action just doesn’t work for them.
There are many ways to get nothing done. But since I’ve been accused of writing posts that are too long, I’ve narrowed this down to five items. Five proven techniques that keep us stuck and stalled.
Here’s how to get nothing done…
1 – Ask for permission.
Here’s a great way to get really stuck. Ask around a lot. Ask friends. Especially ask your co-workers. What do you think about my dream of being a poet? What do you think of me learning to invest my own money in the stock market? How would you react if I told you I wanted to start a business? How about an adventure? Should I try that?
The reason you want to do this is because most people don’t take chances. And most of them don’t want you to take a chance because then it will make them have to re-think their life choices. And man, that’d be a drag. If someone were to succeed when they tried something different, then that would mean that all these old beliefs and superhighways of negativity that people have constructed in their brains might not be the truth.
Well? Guess what? They’re not. Secretly everyone knows this, but the big conspiracy is to act like they don’t. So, ask for permission to try something different. Ask for permission to take action towards creating a life you love. Be careful though — there might be a few folks in your life that’ll give it to you! (Hint: These are the ones who laugh a lot.)
2 – If you scheduled a take-action task, ask yourself how you “feel” about doing it.
Try this: Schedule a visit to the gym before your work day begins. Set your alarm for 5am. When the alarm goes off, ask yourself the following: “Do I feel like getting out of my flannel sheets? Do I feel like traipsing out to my car and driving in the dark to a room where I will – under the pasty green glow of florescent lights – pedal in place for 35 minutes as guys named Jimbo create tremors in the building when they throw down their thousand pound dumbbells with a loud “Huuuuuuuuuuhrrrrhhh!”? Do I feel like hearing Gwen Stefani sing about bananas in the background of this scene?
What do you think your answer will be? Of course you won’t feel like it. You feel like flannel!
Here’s a secret: As long as you ask yourself if you feel like it, you won’t ever feel like it. So, keep asking yourself if you feel like it.
3 – Say “I think I’ll just check my email” before you begin.
Do I really need to say anything more about this one?
4 – Ask yourself this question often: “I wonder what people think of me.”
I find this technique to be the most successful way to stop me in my tracks. Especially when I’m about to sit down and write a song. It’s great to drum up some memories of bad reviews, or maybe even think about why a promoter decided not to book me. If I really work at it, I can think of a few people in town who don’t like me at all. I can hear them telling each other about how bad my songs are and how I probably won’t write another song. Sometimes, if I can’t think of these people, I can go back to high school in my imagination!
Before you get too deep into beginning any project, take a few moments to conjure up anyone you can think of that has ever had an opinion about you. Let them tell you whether or not you should begin now.
5 – Decide that it’s selfish to be the hero of your own life.
Oooooo. I’ve saved the best for last. Especially for us women. When all else fails, we love to pull out the selfish card. The selfish card is just one step above the B-word. Add on a simple, “Who do you think you are?” and you’ve got a surefire recipe for stopping in your tracks.
When I was first out of college, I kept telling people that I couldn’t believe that anyone could settle for a nine-to-five job and that there had to be a better way to live our lives. One person told me that I was being selfish, and that I didn’t get to just be happy all the time and to get over it. I found this to be quite effective in shutting me up for quite some time. You may find it works for you. Tell yourself that if you’re craving deep happiness, or inner peace, or outrageous joy – that you must be selfish.
But be warned: in order to maintain this attitude, you’ll want to avoid reading this amazing book, or seeing this amazing movie, or reading this amazing book, or this amazing book. You’ll also want to resign yourself now to the idea that life is meant to be a sacrifice with no daring adventures. Then, practice frowning into the mirror. A lot!
So there you have them. Go forth and, well…just stand there.