Those who Succeed

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Art student avoiding procrastinationThis is an article for me.

It is a reminder, because I have forgotten.

There is only one difference between those who succeed and those who do not.

The presence of ability, skill, motivation, luck, or the alignment of the planets is inconsequential if no action is taken.

Our worst trait, as humans, is to fall for the idea that the grass is somehow greener elsewhere. That things will somehow be better another day, another time, another circumstance. When this or that happens…things will be different. On the first day of the week / month / year, motivation will arrive with the fresh slate. When I move house, the environment will be stimulating and return everything to the wondrous state it should be. When the chores are done the unease in my soul will be gone and my brain will be lighter: I will be able to direct energy towards tasks that require mental strength. When I have restructured my day, I will fill with enthusiasm, with the increased availability of time for artistic endeavours…

It doesn’t matter where you are. It doesn’t matter how many things you have on your ‘to do’ list. It doesn’t matter if the rain is bucketing down or the world is ripping apart. It doesn’t matter where you live, who spend each day with, what you’ve done or wish you’d done, or what your life circumstance contains. Everywhere you go, there you are. I heard that quote a long time ago, and it is one of the best truths I know.

You’re not in a room or in a field or standing on a mountain. You’re inside you.

the time to act is nowThe human brain will find a reason to critique any circumstance. We’re bred that way. Those who foresee errors and flaws can act to rectify these and thus to increase their chance of survival. But being fit for survival does not equal happiness. It is more than possible to live a long and miserable life; to grumble and groan from this year until the next. The human brain is expert at whispering away excitement and novelty. It is a pro at weaselling inside niggles and worries; dwelling on ‘what-if’s and ‘might-have-been’s.

If you are lost for motivation, there’s no guarantee you’ll find it another day. If you’re too busy or too uninspired to do something now, it won’t be easier to fabricate extra hours or enthusiasm any other day.

The secret is that If there is something you have been procrastinating over, you already know what to do. You don’t need to plan. (I used to be a big planner, incidentally. I could compile the most impressive and comprehensive of schedules, to do lists, and goal charts. I am a pro at these…especially the kind that take days to create). None of this matters, in the end. Detailed planning isn’t necessary. You know what is important already (and if you don’t, writing it down won’t make it so).

Whatever your goal is – you just have to carry out the actions needed to achieve it. Actions are not painful or – usually – even hard. Our brain conjures up all kinds of fantastic reasons why they might be, but few actions bring physical pain. Even an activity that seems hideously boring can be filled with joy. Scrubbing toilets can bring you peace, if you want it to. The clean water, running on your hands. The froth of bubbles exploding as you scrub. The fresh air rushing in through the window. The glisten and sparkle of clean enamel.

Whatever is here is just the stuff of life and death and in between.

All you have to do to achieve something is do it.

The funny thing is, after you’ve done it, you’ll discover it wasn’t hard at all.

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