to Out on a Limb,
a monthly newsletter from Martha Clark Scala. This free e-zine
is meant to invite and inspire you to maximize the joy in
of mine recently told me that his e-mail in-box gets filled
by correspondence between colleagues about how to get a
specific work task done. His lament is: “why
don’t they just DO it?” Sometimes we spend an
inordinate amount of time dreaming and scheming about how
we will execute, but then fail to do so. Lack of success in
completing a task or project is bound to steal your joy away
but it’s not as if knowing this, we mobilize ourselves
and finish it. Why?
there are many reasons and explanations for the plague of
procrastination. These two reasons appear to be the most
prevalent: 1) If you have any perfectionistic tendencies,
you are able to put off any concerns about the quality of
what you have done by simply not doing it. 2) There is something
about the task that is onerous. It might be emotionally
onerous. If so, just thinking about what needs to be done
might evoke emotions ranging from dread or fear, to anxiety,
anger or grief. If the task is onerous to execute, it might
be because its scope is overwhelming, or requires skills
or talents in which you lack confidence. And if you lack
back to reason #1. It can be a vicious cycle.
can be gained only by practice, never by mere discussion.”
either have results, or reasons.”
~ attributed to Werner Erhard
person who wants to do something finds a way;
the person who doesn’t finds an excuse.” ~
see yourself in reasons #1 and #2 above, is it helpful to
hear the veiled judgments in these quotes? I think not.
On the other hand, any one of these quotes just might be
a helpful kick in the behind when and if you need it! A
both/and perspective is needed.
all procrastinate, don’t we? So why judge others
when they aren’t getting things done? Do you want
to be judged for the areas in which you struggle to get
things finished? Why not summon some compassion, for
your own and others’ challenges in this arena,
instead? If the above reasons particularly resonate,
you can begin to devise a blueprint for addressing them.
For example, if you know that perfectionism is the biggest
culprit, you can look at ways to revise your unrealistic
expectations. If you don’t feel you have adequate
skills or talents, you can always ask for help.
nudges are useful. What might motivate you? Is it one
of the quotes above? Some people move past procrastination
by using a reward system. Complete the task, get the
reward. Don’t complete the task,
don’t get the reward. Others can push past initial
resistance to get started by establishing some accountability.
For example, if you say to a boss, co-worker, or housemate “I’ll
have that done by …” you are probably more
likely to meet the deadline. The desire to appear competent
and efficient can sometimes cancel out perfectionistic
tendencies or plain old fear! What might work for you?
Your May 2010 Prompts for Joy
Click here for an amusing and accurate portrayal of a cat
who is hungry.
Click here to see an unexpected friendship between an orangutan
and a hound.
With thanks to Roberta Gelt, Bobbi Emel and Bill Faure for
telling me about these videos.
for May 2010
(maybe even memorize?) these lyrics from a song called “Anthem” by
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
hoping these four lines help you minimize any tendencies
Please feel free to access my answers to Frequently Asked
Questions on Grief and Loss at the www.caring.com website
by typing my name in the Search box.
A large dose of joy captured by my cell phone: Asilomar State
Beach, Pacific Grove, California, at sunset.
re-read or share past Out On A Limb newsletters, click
here, or type the following url into your browser: http://www.mcscala.com/html/EZineArchives.html.
By no means
do I have joy “figured out.” Please do not assume
that I do! I write Out On a Limb as much as a meditation for
myself in the ongoing pursuit of joy, as for you. I think this
pursuit is a lifelong journey and that the full experience
of joy is, at best, episodic. May we all have more episodes!
Martha Clark Scala, MFT • 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 •