Children, Chanukah Gelt, and Financial Procrastination

Ah, the joys of Hanukkah gelt! Those little shiny beautiful coins attract children young and old. And on the inside? Nothing but sweet savory chocolate.

When it comes to money, and financial literacy, many parents miss the mark. There are many movements that push for basic life skills training in school curriculums, and even in those districts where schools actually teach life skills, including financial literacy, parents must support and encourage these skills in the home. It’s a golden opportunity for children to become responsible adults in areas of Finance (pun intended…) health, interpersonal relations, you name it.

At the same time, whether it’s the children themselves, or the parents, people  procrastinate in these areas and wait years if not decades to take action, causing untold suffering on the child, and society at large.

There are many reasons why people procrastinate around issues of money. Some can be a bit involved, like teaching and learning financial literacy, while others can be as simple as the technical skills of balancing checkbooks and making household budget. Following that budget is of course more involved, both technically and emotionally.

As far as financial procrastination is concerned, the reasons can go much deeper, and into psychological barriers we are either taught at home or through the environments we live in. It may be difficult, but not impossible to overcome.

So when unwrapping those yummy chocolate coins, the same way that we should think about the calories involved, let’s think about the financial decisions that we make. It’s about present-self vs future-self.

In the present, those calories are yummy. In the future the healthier outcome is superb!

Liberating, Free!

Three Truly Liberating Procrastination Tips

Are you immobilized by procrastination and indecision? We all know that it is impossible to steer a car that’s not moving and the same is true with your life. You simply cannot direct and steer your life if you are immobilized by procrastination and indecision. It is what prevents you from doing the very things you need to do to make progress.

This debilitating behavior, or shall I say lack of behavior, is responsible for destroying so many dreams and aspirations. Action is the proper fruit of knowledge and doing what you know is often much harder than knowing what to do. This is actually a very accurate description of procrastination. It is the frustrating pattern of wanting to (consciously), knowing how to, but not doing it. It is the lack of action that keeps you from moving forward and making progress. Frustration sets in when you know you can do something, but still you don’t, and this frustration can easily turn into anger, a loss of self-confidence and even depression.

If you are the kind of person who’s actively improving and developing yourself, then there’s usually a gap between where you are and where you want to be. The only way to close this gap is to take action; to act on your desire for change and self-improvement. For this very reason you simply cannot afford to be stuck in procrastination. You must take action and liberate yourself from the disempowering effects of procrastination.

Procrastination is not so much a behavior as it is a way of thinking. The real problem is with your psychology and not with your behavior – the behavior is only the symptom. To liberate yourself from procrastination you must liberate yourself from the inside. It’s an internal shift that’s necessary and once you make the internal shift, it will automatically spill over into your actions. Here are three powerful procrastination tips that will help you liberate yourself from its immobilizing effects.

1. Detach Yourself From Your Behavior.

Realize that you are not your behavior. As soon as you start identifying with a behavior you become it. Just because you procrastinate at times does not make you a procrastinator unless you believe it. One of the strongest forces within the human personality is for your behavior to be consistent with your self-concept. Once you believe that you are a procrastinator all your actions will be filtered through this belief. Since all beliefs are self-reinforcing you will only strengthen this belief with your (in)action.

Instead, you must start by building a positive self-image and develop empowering beliefs. Choose different ways of defining yourself and forget about what you’ve done up until now. This is a fresh moment and you can change everything around, right now, by changing your beliefs about yourself.

2. You Don’t Have To Get It Perfect – You Just Have To Get It Started

One of the major causes for procrastination is this notion of wanting to get everything perfect. For some it even goes as far as waiting for the perfect time before they take action. Underneath this need to get things perfect lies the fear of failure and how your results will reflect on you. See, when you do nothing, nobody can judge or criticize you. Right? Wrong!

If you do nothing you will get nowhere. This universe is one that is driven by action. There are NO rewards for inaction. Only frustration and a longing for something that you know you can achieve, if only you do it. Instead of making perfection your goal, you should make starting your goal. As you do this and practice it you will soon discover the real secret: once you start, you build momentum and you end up doing much more than you ever intended to do when you set out to just get it started.

Perfection does not exist. Don’t be misguided by the illusion that you have to get it perfect. Its a weak excuse and one that will keep you immobilized. Liberate yourself and strive for a poor result that way you cannot be disappointed!

3. Change Your Perception

One of the most profound teachings that have its roots in eastern philosophy, is that when you change the way you look at things, things change. This idea can free you from virtually anything that might be holding you down. All of life relies on perception. What you take in with your senses are nothing but a vast array of sounds, colors, shapes, images and smells. None of it has any meaning in itself. You are the one that can give it meaning, and you are the one that gets to decide how you interpret this information.

Procrastination is nothing but a way of evaluating something and assigning a meaning to it that keeps you from taking action. At some level, mostly subconscious, you believe that taking action will be more painful than not taking action and by design; you will prevent yourself from taking action.

This is one of the most powerful procrastination tips and you can liberate yourself by starting to change the way you look at the things that you are procrastinating about. Ask yourself what else can this mean and instead of saying that you have to do it say that you choose to do it. The difference is subtle, but significant. Change the way you look at things and the things will change.

These three procrastination tips are by no means the begin all and end all of overcoming procrastination, but it will most certainly help to liberate you from being immobilized by procrastination and indecision.

The Decision to Change – Psalms Chapter 2

Chapter 2 verse 1 asks the question; Why do the nations,  “those outside of us”, why do they angry? Why do these people only look at the negative, less important things in life?

Verse 2 describes the Kings and their councilmen coming together to conspire against the Lord, to conspire against the Messiah. And the lord for our purposes is the individual who makes life changing decisions for themselves! They are lord over themselves, masters of their own universe.

And their Messiah? They themselves are the ones who pull themselves through to the new place that they’re heading for, towards their life changing goals.

And finally, verse 3 describes how these kings and their advisors, these people who feel they are somehow better than us, above us, want to break their ties with us.

As we know, when someone makes a decision to move forward in life, to improve themselves, to change their paradigm, they need in essence to break the ties with those that currently influence them, with their prior “kings”.

Once we have made a decision to better our lives, a big part of what happens is that the people staying at the same level either leave or they break their ties with us. Alternatively, we ourselves need to break our ties with them.

A central reason we need to move on to another group of people is so that we are exposed to, and influenced by higher level people than ourselves. This of course is not to belittle the people that we are “leaving”, but rather so that we can be surrounded by people who have the habits, energy, and more successful ways of life we want to emulate and absorb. And those influences are what we need in order to move up to our new paradigm. And the people you leave behind, as cold as this may sound, aren’t necessarily on board with the better-you that’s on the way in any case. And this is why they are angry, and sometimes may even conspire against us.

Mid-chapter, in verse 6, God describes how He has set his goal on Mount Zion, on the mountaintop. Similar to Abraham heading out to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Zion, Abraham could not necessarily see the end in it’s entirety, he could not necessarily understood it in it’s full glory. And yet, he pursued it nonetheless. After all, it was the goal set out for him by God. So too must we relate in this way to the creator and it’s guiding system, within each one if us. 

Similarly, if we take our larger goals as reachable but not necessarily 100% clear as to how they will come about or even how they will manifest exactly, we will in the end reach them. And these goals of ours, our better selves, our new paradigms, will act like our own God-sent Messiah to bring us to the Mountaintop to the accomplishment and achievement of our goals, our own personal Mount Zion.

The chapter ends directing us to serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling (versus 11 and 12). Serve your goals with the fear of losing site of them lest you let them fall by the wayside. Rejoice as you strive towards them, as you take and successfuly complete each step towards them. 

Verse 12 concludes, embrace purity, the purity of your path and of the process of reaching your goals, your new paradigm, your mountaintop. And should the attainment of your goals take longer than planned, that purity will subdue any anger that may arise. Blessed are they that put their trust in God and in their own goals as well.

Later Now

A Short But Accurate Definition Of Procrastination

We have all experienced procrastination at some point in our lives. For some its something that comes and goes while for others it is a frustrating habit that often prevents them from ever achieving any of their dreams and goals.

There are many definitions of procrastination, but they all seem to point to one common characteristic in behavior, or rather, lack of behavior. When you procrastinate you are quite literally stuck between advancing and staying where you are. Consciously you want to advance, but subconsciously you want to stay. On a subconscious level you are preventing yourself from taking the very actions that you know you need to take to achieve the results you desire from a conscious or rational point of view. The frustrating thing about procrastination is that although you know what you want, and even how to get it, you still remain immobilized and unable to act on it.

Probably the most accurate definition of procrastination is that its the irrational delay, aversion or even evasion of a task or action. Its irrational because we cannot explain this behavior from a rational point of view. We can only explain and understand it from an emotional point of view because the reason why we procrastinate is because at a subconscious level we have an emotional association to the task that prevents us from taking the action. Wanting one thing and then doing the opposite seems stupid and completely irrational, but that is why procrastination can be such an odd behavior to deal with effectively.

The definition of procrastination, when translated from the original Latin, means in favor of tomorrow and although you might intentionally postpone your tasks there is an underlying reason why you do it which is irrational, emotional and stored in your subconscious experiences. You might want to loose weight and even though you can see how fat you are and how your health and vitality is deteriorating, you still can get yourself to exercise. Why is this? Well, on a rational level its very obvious that you MUST take action, but on an emotional level it seems too painful to give up the foods you’re addicted to and to sacrifice an hour of TV-time to go and kill yourself on the treadmill.

This association to exercise and changing your diet is nothing but a belief and an association that exists in your mind. Because you believe it, you will act upon it, even if it only exists in your imagination. On a very basic level all our actions are driven by need to avoid pain and the desire to gain pleasure. Procrastination is nothing but this basic truth in action. When you procrastinate you’re your beliefs about what will be painful and what will mean pleasure are what prevents you from taking action. Since your beliefs reside mostly in your subconscious level of thinking, you will be immobilized even if you say you want the opposite.

The definition of procrastination as an irrational behavior is indeed a very accurate one and explains the frustration when you can’t seem to get yourself to act on your conscious desires. Procrastination guarantees a life of frustration and striving. You must overcome procrastination if you really want to make any significant progress in your life.

Here’s a new definition that you might want to adopt to empower you to be more effective and to consistently act on your ideas, dreams and desires:

Procrastination is a call to action. It is a signal that you must act on the very things that you do not want to act on and DO the very thing that’s holding you back. It is the necessary resistance you need to be able to grow, develop and gain confidence that only comes from actually doing it. When you do break through the short term pain that held you back you come out on the other side with an increased sense of esteem for yourself and you start to see yourself and your abilities from a different perspective. The fact that you are procrastinating about something means that it hold significant enough value for you to be uncomfortable with not taking action.The things that are holding you back most are that which will free you most – once you take action. What will free you most is taking action. Not because of the absence of procrastination, but despite the procrastinating.