Destroying Procrastination, Perfectionism & Fear of Failure
Wouldn’t it be totally epic to get whatever you want from the buffé of life and create a tasy, delicious meal that just smells and tastes amazing!? Just imagine for a moment, that you’re looking at your plate like a hungry lion.
What’s on it? Your dream partner? Your ideal career? A precious award? The travelling life style you’ve always dreamt of? So much to have! Yum, yum!
There’s something stopping you. Something hidden deep within your mind. It causes you a great deal of worry, frustration and anxiety, because it makes you sabotage your own dreams and goals – maybe without you even realizing it.
What exactly am I talking about?
You see, I know a deep, hidden secret about you. A secret that maybe you’re not aware of yourself:
You’re terrified. Of failing. Because to you, it means that you’re inadequate. Worthless. Unlovable. You’d rather avoid being tested for your true abilities than make a real effort and fail.
When you live under those conditions everyday, it’s easy to understand why you’d suffer from procrastination. Who’d wanna be judged as worthless?!
I know, because I used to struggle with it myself.
You know what? I’m going to tell you how to destroy the fear of failure, perfectionism and procrastination from the very roots. Removing these mind parasites opens up the door for you to finally take action and accomplish your biggest dreams. A life full of happiness, self-esteem, fulfillment, growth and meaning.
The Root of the Fear of Failure, Perfectionism & Procrastination
Why does the fear of failing never stop some from attempting to do big, exciting things – even if they fail miserably? And why does it cripple others from succeeding?
Fear. In this case, the fear of being inadequate and unlovable or being judged as a failure by others can scare the crap out of procrastinators.
Dr. Richard Beery, a psychologist at The University of California (Berkeley) suggests that people who fear failure have a way of thinking that’s toxic:
Self Worth = Ability = Performance
What it actually means:
1: “If I perform well, then I have a lot of ability, so I like myself”.
2: “If I don’t perform well, that means I’m incompetent and therefore I feel horrible about myself”.
That’s a very merciless formula for self-worth. It doesn’t take into account random circumstances that you can’t control. Neither does it contain a vital ingredient for you: absolute unconditional self-love (more about this at the bottom of this article) for instance.
Sadly, without realizing it, procrastinators often become perfectionists. They try to do the impossible just to prove that they’re good enough. When they realize that they can’t achieve their idealistic goals, they become disappointed and procrastinate. Being sentenced as a failure is probably the worst thing that can happen to you if you suffer from perfectionism.
The goal is to disconnect “failing” from your self-worth. Love yourself no matter what. No human being is perfect. Accepting this will loosen the grip procrastination & perfectionism has over you.
The most noteworthy people in any field, like Michael Jordan, Thomas Edison, & Steve Jobs … They’ve all failed massively. Yet, they kept going. Never thinking of themselves as failures… Growing. Learning. Persevering… They knew that failure is a PART of success! Now the whole world recognizes their talents.
Imagine what you could do if you had that kinda work ethic.
Ask yourself this golden question:
Do your standards enable you to boldly move forward, or are they so much higher than your current capacity that you get paralyzed?
Be honest. Your future depends on it. Because, demanding unrealistic things from yourself, and then giving yourself harsh criticism for not achieving those demands is brutal self-torture.
Ok, cool. But how does the fear of failure actually look like in reality?
What The Fear of Failure & Perfectionism Looks Like
As a kid, I had the wrong skin color.
I thought “If I become the best at everything, maybe they’ll stop harassing me and be my friends“.
At home it was “If I flawlessly do what dad tells me to do, maybe he’ll stop beating me. Maybe he’ll even love me” (btw, if you’re a parent and you abuse your child, go fuck yourself).
So, I worked extremely hard.
Nothing really changed. I never felt worthy of love, approval or respect. That became my identity.
During adulthood my interest in the universe became a passion. People raved about how amazing my space art was – especially after it was featured in top magazines, museums and institutions worldwide. I wanted to be the best (every perfectionist’s dream), which meant making every detail scientifically accurate and visually mindblowing. Mastering difficult softwares. Reading the latest news in detail… Yup, a shit load of pressure.
However, emptiness never left. In reality, I was chasing an illusion: Perfection, which is like chasing the horizon…
Soon, my mind was like: “Naw, f**k it! Too much pressure. Let’s kick ass and play Halo 3. It’s easier and way more fun, lol “
Procrastination & perfectionism became habitual. I avoided important requests by art directors and scientists, studying for exams, writing critical essays, etc… – just to protect myself from possible failure if I did my best.
Fortunately, I’ve completely turned my life around. Procrastination & perfectionism are gone. As is the fear of failure. Healthy growth is here to stay.
I’ll show you how, but first, I wanna give you a versatile tool that you can use to combat fear of failure. It can dramatically improve all areas of your life, if you apply it.
Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset: Power vs Fear
A “mindset” is your way of thinking about something. Your opinions, beliefs and points of view. Your mindsets determine how far you can go in life. For example, earlier in history, it was believed that the Earth is flat, that man can’t fly, or that everything there was to be invented had already been invented, lol.
We know today that these mindsets are all completely false, but they still determined how far those people could go… What limiting mindsets do you have? Did you know that you can change them?!
The extensive research by the psychologist Carol Dweck at Stanford University has shown that people deal with failure in two basic ways. They either have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. The world has embraced her research and is eagerly applying it.
The Dangers of the Fixed Mindset & How it Leads to Perfectionism and Procrastination
The Fixed Mindset strongly encourages procrastination and perfectionism. It also makes you avoid effort, challenges, mistakes and feedback – all vital ingredients to growth. Furthermore, instead of learning from others’ success, it makes you feel threatened.
Basically, the fixed mindset means that whatever intelligence and talent you have is permanent. It’ll never change. For people with this mindset life is an endless string of needing to prove themselves over and over again. They focus on performance, results and on not looking bad.
If you have the fixed mindset you believe that you shouldn’t have to put up an effort in life. People that do are inadequate. A feeling of entitlement to success comes along with your beliefs about your inborn talents.
When you face a challenge you’ll back down. You’ll want everything to be easy and effortless. You’ll want to protect yourself from the judgment of failing and that means avoiding trying new things. Challenges become threats, because if you can’t handle them perfectly, then to you it means that you’re inadequate and unlovable. Your self-worth decreases. Remember this equation?
Self Worth = Ability = Performance
When it comes to mistakes, you hate them. You avoid them at all costs. Feedback will also be ignored or avoided. It’ll make you get defensive and you’ll take it personally when someone points out your mistakes or areas to improve – again, because all of that points to you being not perfect and therefore inadequate.
You know what’s awesome?
The Growth Mindset! It severes the link between self-worth and performance!
Upgrading Your Life with the Growth Mindset
The Growth Mindset strongly encourages your ability to learn new skills and to improve yourself. The focus is on the process of getting better. It increases your confidence, self-esteem, productivity, ability to grow & face challenges. Isn’t that awesome?! Well, the whole world seems to think so, because everybody is embracing it. Just look at youtube or google it. It’s hot shit right now.
If you have the growth mindset, you believe in taking action and putting in an effort. You love “the grind” and recognize it as an important part of the process. “The distance between your dreams and where you are now is called action”.
How is this mentality applied in reality?
You take action and you love challenges. Embracing them, because to you it’s an opportunity to get better, to grow and You just keep getting better and better as long as you live. This mindset also makes you more powerful when dealing with life’s ups and downs.
When you make mistakes, you’ll learn from them and become better. You are very appreciative of feedback. Sure, it may sting to have made an error, but that doesn’t stop you at all. You just haven’t found a solution, YET! It encourages you to find a new way.
Just look at Thomas Edison, who invented the lamp. He said “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10.000 ways that don’t work“. Today, the whole world benefits from his marvelous invention.
The growth mindset breakes the link between your self-worth and failing.
*Pheeew! Whatta relief!*
How The Fear of Failure can be Used to Your Advantage
Remember when I said that the goal is to break the link between your failing and your self-worth? When you’ve successfully done that, then you can use the fear of failure to your advantage.
How? Here’s a few ways.
- More likely to giving a goal your very best shot.
- You can prepare for the worst case scenarios.
- You become more eager to take action.
- You’ll take more (calculated) risks.
- You’re more motivated and driven stronger to succeed.
BONUS! Unconditionally Loving Yourself
Let’s pretend there’s a man standing in front of you. He randomly tortures himself, bashing his head against the wall and becoming bloody. He screams in agony.
– What the hell? Why would anyone do that? Stop!
Yet, that is what most of us do, every day. Especially procrastinators and perfectionists. We use harsh criticism against ourselves. We make ourselves feel horrible (because we’re not “perfect”). Instead of building ourselves up, we tear ourselves down.
- “I hate myself, because I’ only got 98 out of 100 on that test”.
- “I don’t deserve to date (name of your crush)”.
- “I’m horrible at (random thing)”.
- “I am so fat and unattractive”.
- “I’m such a bad parent”, etc.
… Yuck! Just writing it makes me sick, lol.
Guess what! Your mind has a magical genie inside it. Saying this kinda crap is wishing to sabotage your life. Stop it. Immediately.
What’s much, much better? 😉
To unconditionally love yourself. To praise yourself, regardless of any outer circumstance. You are good enough. You’ve always been good enough. Act like it. Learn from your mistakes and move forward. That’s what winning is about.
What to say to yourself instead? The compliments/recognition you want to hear the most from other people like your parents, significant other, boss, etc is a good place to start. Do it continuously and make yourself feel it, because it’ll have effect even faster. Even if you don’t feel like you are what the examples here say, do it anyway. In time it WILL become reality:
- “I am enough. I’ve always been enough”.
- “I’m stronger than anything life can throw at me”.
- “I’m very lovable”.
- “I am bold and courageous”.
- “I can learn and become anything I want”.
Here’s some more inspiration for you, by the amazing and talented therapist Marisa Peer: “I am Enough“.
It can change your life in less than 4 minutes:
The Good Life
If you can accept the fact that a perfect human character is a lie and Still Unconditionally Love Yourself, then you’re giving yourself an amazing chance to grow and become Incredible!
You won’t have to worry about “making a fool” of yourself or being judged as inadequate or incompetent anymore. There won’t be a need for validation from others, because you have the best validation and love there can be: Your Own. You are already “perfect”.
There won’t be a need to panic and do things last minute anymore. Anxiety and self-loathing will have lost its’ grip over you.
You will extract the lessons your “failure” and apply them, then forget the negative feelings. “Failure” will be a valuable stepping stone to your magnificent successes in life. You’ll continuously become better for the rest of your life.
It won’t happen over night, but one day you’ll look back in the mirror and see how far you’ve come on the road of life. You might feel a previously empty space inside your heart that’s been filled with rock-solid self-esteem and confidence. With a Joy for Life. With Gratitude. An Excitement Will Run through Your Veins. You’ll Feel Brave and Courageous.
Procrastination and perfectionism will be a thing of the past.
I know. I accepted my own imperfection. It set me free.
It’s your turn. Now.
- How to Stop Procrastinating – The Ultimate Guide to Beating Procrastination
- Goal Setting – How To NOT Screw It Up!
- 10 Min Meditation – Easy & HIGHLY Beneficial Meditation!
What to do next?
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3. What technique are you most excited to use from this article about how to stop procrastinating? How have you benefitted from this article? Tell us in the comments section below!