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What is Prince Hamlet’s tragic flaw? He thinks too much, does too little.
If you are the ‘give me more details’ type, here you go. William Shakespeare’s protagonist of the play Hamlet is haunted by his father’s ghost. To find peace, he must kill his uncle Claudius, his father’s murderer. Unless he avenges the murder, his father’s ghost won’t be at peace and will continue to appear. So, Hamlet knows what he needs to do, but he can’t decide how to do it or when to do it. That, my friends, becomes the reason for his tragic death. He is the guy that faced the most popular question: To be or not to be.
Sometimes, I am not very different from Hamlet. Admit it, you aren’t either. We all feel stuck about making decisions and moving forward. We put off, we prevaricate, we postpone. Then one day, it is too late.
Your favourite piece lying in the shopping cart for weeks goes out of stock. You keep browsing destinations to take the kids for a holiday, and their vacation is over. You keep looking at places to have a workcation, and before you are ready, HR mails announcing remote work days are done, it’s back to office again. You wanted to start the Nav Durga Sadhna this time, but Navratri is already ending. You want to stand up for the classmate who often gets bullied, but there have been too many next times already. You think you will go to the gym tomorrow, and the tomorrow you wake up is time for New Year’s resolutions again!
Then you wonder why this terrible luck!
You get the drift. But what you might not get is that it is not you. It is me! Inaction is my tragic flaw. Inaction could result from the perfectionism bug, fear of failure, embarrassment, and indecisiveness.
If you have admitted that it is your tragedy of life, too, you know too well the guilt that sits heavy on the conscience because of a task lying pending for no logical reason. I have been in that place often, but I know how to get out of it. You can, too.
Come, let me help you.
My 5-step plan to overcome inaction that works:
- Achieve achiever’s rush: That high you get after finishing a task is generated when the brain releases the achievement hormone, dopamine. It motivates you to do more. However, your need to experience it might make you tick off easier but trivial tasks on the to-do list. Therefore, the next step.
- Bite off small: Break down important tasks into smaller steps. And put these steps on your to-do list in a sequence. That way, you pick up smaller but substantial tasks, avoiding inconsequential ones.
- Next now: Focus on the next step you need to do take. If you need to write a blog, focus on sitting down at your computer.
- Just do it: The famous Resistance blog should come in handy here. Resist resistance. Don’t make plans, don’t rationalise with yourself — just get up and start doing. If you need, count from 1 to 3 and get up at 5. Say, I, 2, 3, and go! When you say ‘go’, get up and start doing the task. Don’t overthink it.
- Only 15 minutes: Tell yourself you will do the task at hand only for 15 minutes and no more. Once you start doing it, you would have overcome resistance, ten minutes into it. Enjoy the inertia of motion.
As an aside, you might find the Eisenhower Principle helpful. I read Amardeep S Parmar’s article on the subject. He explicates it well.Inaction could result from the perfectionism bug, fear of failure, embarrassment, and indecisiveness. Here are 15 ways to overcome it. tell a friend
Here is a pick of hacks and wisdom to snap out of inaction and indecisiveness. Happy accomplishing!
Our Lives Not Lived: Do you regret all the lives not lived? Spanish author Francesc Miralles takes the reader on a perspective-altering journey. Experience the thousands of possible lives in this beautiful “midnight library”. Make the best of your current life with @francesc.
How (not) to Ask Questions: “Have you ever struggled to answer ‘what makes me happy’,” asks Chess Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi. He shares a nifty trick to help answer this and all other life-related questions ever. You do want to try this out, for chess champ @Vidit surely knows how to pick his next move!
Three Rules: When making a decision, it is wise to make a good one. Anshu Kumari lists down three rules to help you make an informed choice. These will come in handy in every aspect of life. Forge ahead with confidence, thanks to @Anshu-Kumari.
Life Hacks for Yo’ Peace: Don’t think it over too much, but do think it through. Komal R has five hacks to help strike a balance when you are stuck. Do not regret it when you are 80; read @rmlgnk already!
The Higher Ground: On a trip to the mountains, Aditya Gupta had an epiphany. Our mind is designed to glean solutions by breaking things down into bite-sized portions. However, that’s not how life works. Read @aditya-gupta’s insights to get out of the rut!
Conversation with The Sun: Shamaa Gupta had quite a start to the day. She had a conversation with the sun over a cuppa green tea. Every time life begins to weigh you down, come back and read this blog by @shamaa.
A Seeker’s Song: At 28, to be or not to be married is Alok Singha’s dilemma. While his caretakers want him to have a union with the right person, he has in mind a union of another kind. @aloksi has even thought of names for his would-be kids. This sweet poem will resonate with many.
अब छोड़ो भी फिर वही बाते: We spend our days chasing a mirage. All these achievements, all these to-do lists, and all those wise-looking decisions — what are they worth? On his 40th birthday, Nandkumar looks back at his life and realises what is worth chasing. Give @nandkumar-bisure a read, to arrive wisely at 40 or tomorrow.
Booked this Week
In the book, The Now Habit, Neil Fore offers a strategic program for overcoming procrastination and enjoying the guilt-free play.
Anxiety, fear, self-imposed criticism and even fear of success are some of the underlying causes of the symptom called procrastination. We delay action for various reasons. The book addresses these causes, explains the psychology behind procrastination, and doles out a host of valuable techniques to become a doer.
Fore enables seasoned procrastinators to take timely action by setting tangible goals, eliminating self-defeating approaches, and using strategies such as reverse psychology and meditation. If you are an occasional one, nip it in the bud. I have started reading it recently.
Wisdom From Swamiji
Improve Your Decision-Making Skills —The 2 Golden Questions: Spiritual leader Om Swami calls indecisiveness a mental shortcoming. Just ask these two golden questions to avoid inaction on account of that and the hindsight trap.
Do Not Quit: Buddha spoke: “On the path of self-realisation, there are only two mistakes a seeker can make. One: Not treading the path at all and two: not going all the way.” Here are three elements that you need to accomplish any goal ever.
Watch This Now!
Quote of the Week
‘Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.‘
Up for a challenge?
Here’s a chance to win amazing prizes!
What’s up for grabs? Two winners get 100% free access to any one os.me virtual retreat of choice or course or one annual membership (individual) — keep it or gift it.
The Challenge: Pretty simple. Observe the featured image with this post (the elephant sitting on a branch), make a personal connection and write about a memory or experience. Remember, it should be true and personal, something that inspires, motivates or moves.
It could be about the time your inaction cost you big, or about the time you felt high/low. The image might remind you of the time when you meditated for the first time or in an unusual place. It might spur you on to write about a life-changing moment/incident or a surreal dream; or it could be about actually seeing an elephant on a tree. Write a real slice of life kinda blog and connect it to the image. Let the creative juices flow.
Who can participate? os.me members. Not a member yet? No problem. Make a free account now! Dates to remember: The challenge starts 14 Oct (12:01am IST); ends 17 Oct (11:55pm IST). Two winners will be selected by the editorial team and announced in the editorial post on Oct 20. More than one entry allowed. Remember to use #TheWriteChoice with your posts.
The decision of the os.me team will be final.What does this picture remind you of? Write it and stand a chance to win OSME prizes! tell a friend
Do not let inaction overtake you. There are 80 days left to the year. Which New Year’s resolution are you accomplishing? Stay OSME!