Do you tend to postpone large tasks? Is there a project you know you need to get started on, but never seem to get going? Do you lack motivation to complete projects? You are likely struggling with procrastination, which can easily be translated into one word: later.
Perfectionism and procrastination
Perfectionism and procrastination are like two peas in a pod. Many artists have extremely high demands on themselves, and strive to achieve perfectionism in a world where it does not exist. Nevertheless, we expose ourselves to a way of thinking in which we imagine that this is a real goal.
A perfectionist knows how difficult it is to do some of the tasks, and pokes and picks at them for ages to achieve what is actually an unrealistic standard. This is better to handle for the ones with lower requirements, who have gotten up off the couch and actually begun. Some just end up in an internal argument about whether or not there is any point in starting, and ironically never get started.
In short, this is referred to as uncertainty. You become unsure whether or not people will like what you produce, and if the work lives up to your standards. Suddenly, the critical inner voice becomes deafening. And on top of that anxiety rears it's ugly head, and you become mentally exhausted before you've even begun. Stagnation ensues thereafter.
Good at being bad
We have created a society that praises high achievers at all times. And one of the negative aspects of this is that we have created a group of "generation perfection" - high achieving millennials, who amongst other things struggles with anxiety, depression and stress. They do not get respite to relax and be themselves.
To counteract this trend and build yourself up, it is important to be bad at things. It gives us valuable information about who we are and what our limitations are.
Remember that when you do something bad, you are doing something. And that's always better than not doing nothing.
Brushing your teeth lousy for 10 seconds is better than never brushing your teeth.
You ought to take this philosophy to heart if you are a perfectionist. However, it does not mean that you should always lower your own expectations, but it is a step in the right direction in order to gain control of your procrastination. Sometimes you just need to take a break and pat yourself on the shoulder. Be your own best friend.
cultivate inspiration, it does not come for free
How would you treat the most valuable thing you have? Don't take for granted that inspiration is delivered on a silver platter. It's not something that shows up at all times when you need it. It must be cultivated, either consciously or subconsciously. It's also a condition that is very fragile and is exposed to influence in the environment you're in. Feel free to let others in your household know that you need undisturbed time to work, so that your creative flow is not interrupted by others.
Are you impatient? Are you trying to do something that is not natural for you? Are you trying to push the round block into the triangular-shaped hole?
Start a conversation with yourself. What do you need today? Is it music? Is it silence? Figure out what your mind and body needs today for you to feel good. Inspiration comes when you are balanced, but it cannot be forced. You just have to accept that some things take time, and that patience is actually a virtue. What is worth doing is also often the most difficult.
When adversity becomes motivation
«Boyinaband» is a musician named David Paul Brown who is open about his challenges with depression that affect his ability to produce music. After trying countless methods to recover, he decided to try negative motivation:
He set up a schedule to improve both body and mind, and if he did not follow up, £10,000 in his name would be donated to an organization he disliked!
According to him, it was not possible to donate money to ISIS (!), instead he chose the Church of Scientology. He got his sister on board as mental support, and she had control of the money and could quickly transfer it with a single keystroke if he did not follow up on his own schedule.
Watch the incredible experiment below:
Some are thus motivated by negative consequences, and this should not be overlooked even if David's experiment is not suitable for everyone.
Sometimes the days become too much of a routine for inspiration to be cultivated, so maybe it's time to try something new? Set yourself a realistic goal of challenging yourself a little, and lower your expectations. It's okay to back down. Figure out what works for you.