Why We Procrastinate and What You Can Do About It

Procrastination. Wow, if you wanted to talk about what has been my Achilles’ heel since college (and even before then)… it’s probably this. I’ve been doing a lot of research lately in trying to figure out a fix for my procrastination. And what I’ve come to find is that there is indeed a reason for why we procrastinate. In a nutshell, the following video by Vik Nithy shows the psychological reasoning behind why we do it:

If that description is too analytical for you, then you can find a drawn out and very relatable version here.

The Gist of Why We Procrastinate

There are two parts of your brain (literally and figuratively) that are at odds with each other when it comes to getting stuff done. You have a smart part, and a dumb part.

The smart one, which holds your personality and all of your good intentions, is telling you that you have something that needs to be done.

However, the dumb one, well, all it wants to do is just surf the web, play video games, or go screw around outside. Funny enough, part of it is in charge of decision making, play, and panicking.

It also doesn’t help that the dumb one also stores the factory of Dopamine. And let me tell you something about it… Dopamine is a hell of a drug. Gaming to me in the past might almost be as good as cocaine. (For more info on why people do cocaine: Cocaine stimulating Dopamine release.)

So, obviously, the fight between the smart part of your brain vs the dumb part is actually kind of won before it even starts if our brain is more receptive to short term rewards than long term ones.

In short, the more you’ve given in to short term rewards in the past, the more your brain is literally addicted to their effects – whether or not you had long term goals or not.

Three Steps We Can Use to Effectively Battle Procrastination

In the video above, Vik talks about 6 key things you must do to battle procrastination:

  • Plan Goals
  • Plan Time
  • Plan Resources
  • Plan the Process
  • Plan for Distractions
  • Plan for Failure

I’m going to kind of theme them together in three steps so that it’s something you do a little more automatically when you’re trying to avoid procrastination when starting a new project.

You want to do something? First, you need to research the hell out of it. What do top experts say in doing that? What does it look like when you’re done? Is it worth your time in pursuing it? This is how you start planning your process. The dumb part of your brain should have no difficulty looking this stuff up – especially if it’s something you have a passion to do. (If it does, you might need to plan this phase out too.)

As part of your process planning, figure out what you have and don’t have to get the job done. Are you trying to learn a new language? A new skill? Do some inventory checking and get those missing things of what you’re going to need. (It might be as simple as downloading an app!)

Effective Journaling and Planning Your Week takes care of goals and time. However, as you’re planning out your week to work on a project or your months to work on a new skill, I’d plan for almost twice as long to get the thing accomplished.  You’re going to run into some bumps in the road (failures and distractions). Either the dogs will want to go out three times during your project or the kids might want for you to go watch them at their baseball game in the 2nd week of your training. But when you’re done with those distractions, you’ll come back and be able to get right back on track because you’ll have your goals written down.

Homework:

So the next time you’re wanting to do something, be it recording a podcast, or even learning how to ride a bike at the age of 34, I want you to see if you can set yourself up from inception to completion: Research, plan and journal your activities. Come back and let me know how it works out for you! Or, if you’ve already implemented it, drop a comment below.

Extra Points: Identify what kind of procrastinator you are here. If it doesn’t exist, name it and let us know why you came up with that name.

stages of manhood

Stages of Manhood: Are you Unfinished?

I am soaking in so much right now in so many different ways and from so many different sources. It’s crazy and I feel like I’m drowning. However, it’s all for a good cause and I’m looking forward to the result.

Recently, Greg Francis, my upline Diamond, did a talk called “Stages of Manhood”. I have been hearing so much about this talk that I had to listen to it. I hadn’t realized that it was by Greg, but when I found out – I knew it was going to be good. And as usual, he hit a nerve with me.

There’s an author that Greg exposed to me a few years back that really helped me out. The author’s name is John Eldredge – he had written a book that many guys in LTD swear by called Wild At Heart. This book is a great for guys who are looking for help in their life because it explains the three things that a man is after in his life. If you’re a male, and you feel like you have a void in your life that you can’t figure out, then you might want to check out this book.

But here’s a teaser: Half of today’s marriages end in divorce. Why that is is another story. However, many times, that couple has children. Those kids, specifically boys, end up suffering due to that separation. On the surface, it’s hard to see what’s going on. But, boys who don’t have a stable man in their childhood years, often end up living life with a void. Why? Because depriving young boys of a father figure deprives that boy of the knowledge it takes to be a man. And as I can attest and as I’m sure many males of my generation can vouch for as well, there’s just so many guys who just don’t understand why they’re not happy in life. Wild at Heart helps them understand why they’re not happy.

In his talk, Stages of Manhood, Greg talks about levels in life that are mentioned in the book The Way of the Wild Heart. Personally, I think this is a great followup book. In it, John talks about 6 levels of Masculinity. Without completing each level, the male isn’t a complete man – he’s an “unfinished man”.

 

The Stages of Manhood

Here’s a short description of each of the stages a man has to go through to be finished.

1. Boyhood

In this stage, a male is figuring out how the world works. He’s bumping around and getting high fives by his mentors/father figures. He has all the support that he wants and needs.

 

2. The Cowboy

In this stage, the unfinished man is looking for his own way in life. He’s still bumping into things, but this is the first time that he gets the opportunity to do things on his own. Many times, a male is going through a lot of first time activities such as getting his drivers license.

 

3. The Warrior

This is the stage for the man in where he wants to get things done. This is where a male really starts becoming a man. At this point, he’s starting to earn his own and he’s deciding to do things that have meaning. Many times it doesn’t matter what it takes to get things done – he just knows that’s what his life is meant for and he’s not going to take no for an answer.

 

4. The Lover

Many times this level might overlap with the warrior stage. At this point, the man is realizing the small things in life and what he can bring to others. He’s no longer looking for a girl because he feels incomplete or that he thinks of her as a challenge. He’s looking for her because he wants to add value to her life.

 

5. The King

This is the point where the man is earning the fruits of his labor. He can teach other men how to be Warriors and can help them learn how to attract others that they want to attract.

 

6. The Sage

Just as the King can build Warriors, the Sage builds Kings.

These stages aren’t ones that guys take in order. Sometimes, a male can be thrusted into a stage they’re not ready for. When that happens, it’s almost impossible for them to do well in that spot as they haven’t earned it. This happens a lot when young males are made the head of the household when their father drops the ball. I know that’s what happened in my situation and I’m proud to say that going through Warrior stage is actually quite rewarding in itself. I thought school was my Warrior years. Nope – I’m starting to go through them now.

Thoughts?

So there you have it. I’m curious as to your thoughts of why we have so many lost men today. Is it because they haven’t gone through a stage of manhood? Do you know any guys who this might benefit from this knowledge? Feel free to pass it along!!

How to Successfully Go Through the Minefield

Recently, I had the chance to listen to Tom Kunz, past president of Century 21, tell a story about a fellow who had the opportunity to have a private golf lesson with a certain professional golfer. There wasn’t much to the story but there was definitely a key part that I remember that went something like this:

“(The man) was out playing golf with the professional golfer. The Pro was watching him, trying to find out how the guy could improve his swing. In doing so, the Pro asked the guy what club he used the least and asked for it. The Man gave him the club and the Pro continued to swing the club as he would with one of his.

The ball flew and landed where he had aimed. He then turned around to the Man and said “Well, we now know it’s not the equipment!”

What Does It Mean?

There are various things we can pull from this story. For instance we could have realized that people are professionals because they can do things that most others can’t do as well. To become a pro, he probably had to put a lot of time into his craft.

The obvious thing I got from this story was that most of the time… it’s not the equipment. It’s not anyone else’s fault that you haven’t succeeded. You are a product of your own choices. The man probably wasn’t great with that club because he hadn’t used it.

Association is Key

Even those two things stick out there’s probably a more important aspect that is probably more important that might escape all of us at first. We might miss the forest for the trees. How? Well, this story reminded me that is association is important. Luckily, the man in the story had decided that he wanted to have help with his golf swing and found someone that had success at the level that he wanted. It would have taken him a lot more time if he had tried finding out the problem himself. Heck, he probably might not have ever tried using the club and would have focused more on just changing his swing on other clubs that he was better at. Now he knew that if he spent more time honing his time on this new tool, he might have more success in the future. Which was the better path to take? Personally, I don’t know. I’m not a golfer. However, the Pro had more experience and gave the man a pro’s perspective.

Once you figure out where you want to go in life, association with those that have been where you want to go is very important. It’s better to get experience from those who have already gone through the minefield so that you don’t have to find out the answers yourself.

Thoughts?

Personally I have gotten to associate with plenty of people who are where I want to be in the future. But I still would love to get more time in with those are more successful than me in topics like internet marketing, passive income, and success.

What are your thoughts in finding association. Is there anything that is key that you would look for when you are looking for people to help you?

I look forward to reading your responses. Have a wonderful week and congratulations to the Boilermakers football team who once again was able to beat Ohio State! Boiler Up. 🙂

Cheers!

The Teenager Principle: You Just Leveled Up!

When I became a freshman in high school, I believed I knew everything. As an 8th grader, I, like you, felt like I knew everything there was to know about the world. I felt unstoppable. The older I got, the more unstoppable I felt. Until I moved on to the next school.

When I moved to the next school, (high school and later college) I remember thinking as a freshman that seniors just didn’t “get it” and that they were just off and/or mean for no reason. While I felt like nothing could hurt me, I also tended to feel that I was worthless. Talk about ups and downs!! Things kept happening to me and I just couldn’t understand why. Heck as a sophomore in high school, I remember getting on Yahoo! chat and acting like I was certain seniors. Later in college, I would play it off as if I was somebody that everyone should be familiar with and you were lucky to have me as a friend. But the truth was that I was not acting or comfortable with myself. Society was telling me that I had to be popular and do certain things – but when I did them, it always backfired. What’s funny now though, as I graduated and have had time reflect over the years and met younger and/or less experienced people, I’ve started realizing how brash, judgmental, and naive I must have seemed.

You Just Leveled Up!

There’s a saying that says “If you feel like life is harder, you must have just leveled up.” If you’re unfamiliar with this phrase, it’s simply referring to a a role playing video game in which you get new quests as you level up. The more quests you do, the more experience your character has and the more powers he has. In life, like the game, you must go through quests that take a lot more stamina than you’re used to. However, as you might know from playing those types of games, you get more rewards for sticking with and accomplishing them.

So in a nutshell, the Teenager Principle is simply believing that you’re good at things that you’re really not, but being overly humble about things that you’re good at. When I was told about this principle, things started making sense as to why my confidence was all screwed up. I now know why I felt the world didn’t make sense as a freshman in high school and college. It’s because I had just leveled up. I was taking on a new level of quests. Quests that, while they might seem similar, were at a completely different complexity. A complexity that I would not understand unless I had understood the adventure for what it was and kept moving forward.

Thoughts, questions, comments?

So how about you? Are you going through a period where you seem to be out of your comfort zone all the time? Have you ever noticed this phenomenon? When was the last time you leveled up? I’d love to hear from you. Also, if you’d like me to put you in contact with Mark Boersma, who has helped me discover this principle, feel free to email him at [email protected]!

Personality Temperaments: Mastering the Art

One thing I know is that as a coach, I need to be coached myself – otherwise my knowledge base stays at my current level and due to that, I can only grow so fast if at all. When you bring someone into your life that has a knowledge base that is so different than yours and you’re open to their ideas, then you can grow exponentially as you listen and gain a larger understanding of how the world works.

Personally, I’ve had several coaches in my life and some have been great while others have been not as great. But that doesn’t keep me from searching for more wisdom to expand myself.

Recently I started getting coached by Mark Boersma – president of Synergy Solutions based out of Chicago. Mark’s a pretty interesting guy – early on he reminded me of Rick Moranis and I wondered if I could take anything he said seriously as he’s very sure of himself as well. From my experience, those that are very sure of themselves usually are the most insecure (or as us academics would say, “externally referenced”). But those who ask questions and approach life in that you can learn from anyone… those people I’ll open my ear to. Mark has shown some signs of this from time to time, so he’s getting a little more respect and response from me in return. Never forget that being humble isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength. You can never trust a guy who doesn’t cry. 🙂

One of the things that I’ve learned (or potentially relearned) from Mark is more about the art of determining someone’s personality. In the past, I either watched and listened to a person for 20 minutes or I had them take an extensive test. Funny enough, Mark has showed me a way of determining someone’s personality by asking two questions. Those questions are actually a little screwy, but I’ll give them to you anyway!

The Questions

First off, we need to set some basics here. Mark’s 4 temperaments are slightly different than those found in the DISC model. Even though they’re very similar. The Dominant is replaced by the Driver. The Imaginative is replaced by the Expressive. The Supportive is replaced by the Amiable. Finally, the Calculative is replaced by the Analytical.

The first question that is asked is to rank 4 shapes that someone else prefers. Those shapes are a cube, pyramid, wavy lines, and a ball. When ranking, a shape with a 1 is more preferred than that with a 4. Make sure that you ask in that order of shapes each time. If you’re doing it all verbally, you’ll need to repeat the question a couple of times over. And record your answer in a 2×2 grid on a paper at first… later you’ll be able to do it in your head. The scores are recorded clockwise starting in quadrant 1 and finishing in quadrant 4. Keep those scores.

The second question that needs to be addressed is what brings them more frustration in a given situation. Have them rank four choices in the same fashion as you did with the shapes. “What causes you more frustration in a given situation? Your choices are: out of order, out of control, not fun, and conflict”. Again as you did in the previous ranking, record their answers in a clockwise fashion starting from the upper left quadrant and finishing in the lower left hand.

The Explanation:

Now that you have two two by two grids, place them by each other. Place an empty 2×2 grid next to these two. In this grid you’ll put the sum of the numbers of the two other grids in each quadrant. So, clockwise (starting from the upper left hand corner) add each quadrant and put the result in the third grid. The resulting numbers yield the order of the person’s temperaments. For example if the first two quadrants yield a 2 and a 4, then the person is a strong Analytical-Driver. If the top two numbers are switched, than the personality of the person is a Driver-Analytical. (To know more about the traits, the easiest way is look for the DISC temperaments first and match them accordingly.) If the numbers come out to be rather close to each other (such as all the quadrants having a 5 in them) then the person is a new 5 type of personality – a chameleon. They’re the hardest to figure out but potentially the biggest achievers!

Thoughts, Comments, Questions?

If you have any further questions on how this works, please ask! I’m curious to know how this application affects your daily life in knowing how others tick. Also, if you’d like connect with Mark himself, please feel free to contact him at [email protected] Make sure you refer to New Inceptions so that you get the VIP treatment.

The DISC Profile: Placing People on the Map

When I was growing up and even through most of my undergrad years, I always thought that EVERYONE was competitive. I thought everyone played nature’s game. However, when I was taking an OLS class in 2004, I found out about personality temperaments. Specifically, I found out about the Myers-Briggs Personality Profile test. While studying this I came to find out that there were 16 combinations of 8 different traits that a person could have. At the time, I thought it was preposterous to label people – but as I had to study it more, I found out that it explained quite a bit.

Well, over time, I became frustrated with the Myers-Briggs test (which is the same thing as the Jungian 16 test). In one week, I could be one of the 16 different combinations and then in the next week, I’d be another. I could be an introvert one week and the next week, I’d be an extrovert!

Well eventually I ran across a book called Personality Plus. In this book, Florence Littauer explains how there are really four main personality temperaments: the Melancholy, Phlegmatic, Sanguine, and Choleric. She also explains how to tell what you are as well as what others are and how to interact with them.

Later, I found out about the DISC personality assessment and realized that the temperaments described in Florence’s book could have easier names to remember! DISC is short for Dominant, Imaginative, Supportive, and Calculative (or a combination of similar terms).

At any rate, the point of all of this is that once you have an understanding of what these temperaments are, you can understand where people are coming from. In a very basic form, you can understand what drives people. So, without further adue, here’s a brief explanation of the different DISC temperaments (source: Wikipedia):

The assessments classify four aspects of behavior by testing a person’s preferences in word associations (compare with Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). DISC is an acronym for:

  • Dominance – relating to control, power and assertiveness
  • Influence – relating to social situations and communication
  • Steadiness (submission in Marston’s time) – relating to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness
  • Conscientiousness (or caution, compliance in Marston’s time) – relating to structure and organization

These four dimensions can be grouped in a grid with “D” and “I” sharing the top row and representing extroverted aspects of the personality, and “C” and “S” below representing introverted aspects. “D” and “C” then share the left column and represent task-focused aspects, and “I” and “S” share the right column and represent social aspects. In this matrix, the vertical dimension represents a factor of “Assertive” or“Passive”, while the horizontal dimension represents “Open” vs. “Guarded”.[2]


  • Dominance (Choleric / Driver): People who score high in the intensity of the “D” styles factor are very active in dealing with problems and challenges, while low “D” scores are people who want to do more research before committing to a decision. High “D” people are described as demanding, forceful, egocentric, strong willed, driving, determined, ambitious, aggressive, and pioneering. Low D scores describe those who are conservative, low keyed, cooperative, calculating, undemanding, cautious, mild, agreeable, modest and peaceful.

 

  • Influence (Sanguine / Expressive): People with high “I” scores influence others through talking and activity and tend to be emotional. They are described as convincing, magnetic, political, enthusiastic, persuasive, warm, demonstrative, trusting, and optimistic. Those with low “I” scores influence more by data and facts, and not with feelings. They are described as reflective, factual, calculating, skeptical, logical, suspicious, matter of fact, pessimistic, and critical.

 

  • Steadiness (Phlegmatic / Amiable): People with high “S” styles scores want a steady pace, security, and do not like sudden change. High “S” individuals are calm, relaxed, patient, possessive, predictable, deliberate, stable, consistent, and tend to be unemotional and poker faced. Low “S” intensity scores are those who like change and variety. People with low “S” scores are described as restless, demonstrative, impatient, eager, or even impulsive.

 

  • Conscientious (Melancholy / Analytical): People with high “C” styles adhere to rules, regulations, and structure. They like to do quality work and do it right the first time. High “C” people are careful, cautious, exacting, neat, systematic, diplomatic, accurate, and tactful. Those with low “C” scores challenge the rules and want independence and are described as self-willed, stubborn, opinionated, unsystematic, arbitrary, and unconcerned with details.

Who said you couldn’t source Wikipedia? 🙂

At any rate, I would like to note that while the DISC profile or any other personality temperament test can give a basic understanding of who a person is, it cannot possibly give an exact representation of who they are as a person. Why? Well think of a particular place on Earth, say Hawaii. Now it is possible to represent Hawaii by a Latitude and Longitude value but that probably doesn’t do it justice. There are so many ways that a particular place can be described, especially Hawaii, that limiting it to a few key words probably isn’t the best thing to do. The same thing is true with people.

So if you do start using the DISC profile (or any personality assessment) in common situations be careful that even if you get a base description of someone, that it isn’t all you use to evaluate who they are as person. But it definitely is a starting point… and that’s definitely better than nothing or just winging it!

Where to Start in Your Search for Health and "Self-Help" Knowledge

“How Old Would You Be if You Didn’t Know How Old You Wuz?” – Satchel Paige.

More often than not, whenever I have gone to the gym, I see people typically running on treadmills. Some of them are watching TV, others are just listening to their iPod’s while others are reading. When they are reading, many times they’re reading a self help book. Most of the time it’s for health, but other times it’s been for other topics. One time, I was curious about a particular book I saw and struck up a good conversation with the reader. Obviously, I was surprised that she was able to keep a conversation going on the treadmill as well as she did. But what was really astonishing was how we ended up talking about how most men are not interested in self-help. Ultimately we determined that men tend to not pursue self help because they don’t want to show signs of weakness.

I mean, this kind of makes sense because for the most part. Because everyone is in charge of their own lives. However, most of the time people, especially men, find themselves in a state of denial. The problem is that, “He who buries his head in the sand leaves even more open to vulnerability”. Think about it, whenever you see an ostrich putting its head in the sand… it’s still vulnerable, right? It’s not realizing that its far greater at risk now because it’s a.) not moving and b.) it can see the danger now.

Are you an ostrich or are you going to seek help? To acknowledge the problem right away and recognize ones’ vulnerability is not only a powerful means of self-protection, but it’s also showing strength in that you’re realizing that the solution is better than the current situation. Especially if it’s health related as the solution might mean for you to have a longer and more prolific life than not seeking help.

First Steps In Seeking Help

Now that you’ve chosen to seek out help (congrats), where do you start? Well, obviously it depends on what you’re having issues with. Many of us have problems with confidence, general people skills, and all kinds of health issues. These are just a few of the topics, obviously, but it will definitely get you started. However, with so many books out there with “so-called” experts, where do you turn? Well, here’s some criteria:

1.) Read material from people recognized as experts. Don’t put all your faith in someone that hasn’t been declared as an expert by other sources or isn’t highly recommended.

2.) If you have mentors in your life and want to be like them in that aspect of your life, find out what their sources are. Let those be a guide.

3.) Do your own research. Combine what multiple experts say. Draw your own conclusions – not what others tell you the answer is.

4.) Time tends to verify information. Just like bad theories are thrown out over time, so is bad advice. Just like new theories, new advice hasn’t had the time be proven. Self Help books that have stood the test of time (such as “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie which is going on 80 years old) are more often than not still the best practices. Remember that humans really haven’t changed that much for at least 2000 years. Health information changes more often, so make sure you check with newer resources that has older information as its foundation.