Checkmate Procrastinate: The Hard-Wired Response That Drives Us To Distract (And How To Fix It)

Our minds love to problem-solve. Creating pleasure from pain. So improving things feels good. But not when it's lose-lose.

David Bird Cognitive Hypnotherapy Leighton Buzzard, Stop procrastinating, fear of failure

I didn't have curtain poles when I moved in. Simple, right? Except I didn't own a drill. Or know how to use one. Or know where to buy poles. (I know). I lived with a blanket nailed across my front room window for a month. Increasingly defeated each time I saw it. But why?

The Freeze Response.

Another aspect of 'fight/flight' is freeze. When we're home alone at night and hear a noise downstairs, our heart sinks. Attention narrows. We go still. That's the freeze response. It allows us to take in information before action. Save harm in a wrong move. Which is fine. If we do move. But we can get stuck. Waiting. Hoping for change.

The blanket stayed because I felt incapable at DIY. Ashamed to ask, yet not-good-enough to learn. Fearful I'd get it wrong. And make it worse. So I left it. And kept leaving it.

I was waiting.

It can feel safer to wait. Things may change after all. And if the problem is a hungry tiger in closed quarters, then staying put may be a savvy choice. But if the proverbial predator is all but a mass of fear-driven misprojections, waiting is unlikely to provide the hidden trap-door exit we unconsciously long for.

We need to take action.

It's like playing chess. Sometimes there's no good move. Not without sacrifice. And waiting only delays the inevitable. It's not a solution. It's move or fold. Decide and commit. Then face the repercussions.

But then the magic happens.

Because the board has changed. Pieces aren't where they were. New options appear. Last move all we could see was the bleak choice between losing rook or knight. But now we're clearly only two moves from a triumphant checkmate.

One single move.

Wait too long and we stagnate. Capability wanes. We feel hopeless. And though we may ostrich with distractions, the problem still looms. And it weighs on us.

Sometimes there is no best choice. So decide anyway. Take action. Good or not-so, the outlook's always better with our heads out the sand.

(Struggling with procrastination, a sticky situation, or making that first move? Cognitive Hypnotherapy in Leighton Buzzard can help you. Get in touch to learn how).