Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

The story of Jim Real

Here is the story of Jim Real, a guy just like one of us.

 The young days

It was young days in the life of Jim Real, a High School student and an amateur boxer. He was the High School boxing champion and they were saying that he was champion stuff, that someday he would make it to the boxing Hall of Fame. He was young and talented and had a natural ability. There was a spark in him; there was something about him that convinced his peers and friends that he would be going places. In the same school was Sarah Parkers, Jim's love interest. Jim was a kind of shy and could never express his love for Sarah though many times he dropped hints. But Sarah was not interested in Jim and ignored his hints. Soon school came to an end and 12 years went by……..

12 Years later

One day Sarah, now Sarah Walters, spotted Jim near the State Boxing Academy. At first, Sarah tried to pass by pretending that she did not spot Jim but when Jim also spotted Sarah, Sarah had to stop to talk to Jim. While at High School, Sarah had also heard people talking about Jim and his talent so Sarah had assumed that Jim might now be a boxing champion or in the league, though she had never heard or read about Jim in the media. But when she talked to Jim, she came to know that Jim was just a rookie boxer who fought in those local club matches. And also, he seemed to be a pale shadow of the Jim she knew in High School. He looked a little worn out, his body had also receded and his eyes had a kind of sadness in them. Now Sarah felt a kind of pity for Jim. She wanted to know what transpired in the 12 years since High School. Jim was reluctant at first but then he agreed. So they went and sat on the bench in the park where Jim began telling his story to Sarah.

Those 12 years

It was 12 years ago, in High School, Jim was labeled as the next big thing in boxing and how happy and carefree he was! Yes, Jim was talented and there was no doubt about that, but, at the same time he was very immature and childish. He had a fetish for computer games and comics. When others would be training or studying, he would be there, sitting in front of the computer, idling away his time in fun and games. Thus Jim lacked discipline. Another thing was that he was not decided whether he would be taking up boxing big time or pursue job in line with his academic studies. And hence he lacked focus. However, he might have been able to utilize his other time if it were not for his ‘friends’. Well, it was that Jim was basically an introvert. He would not talk much to people and because of this he was not very well versed with the ways of the world; he did not have much awareness. He had a group of boys in the High School for friends. But for these boys Jim was not a friend but a piece of entertainment. They would do all their work and study and then in their leisure time, call up Jim for hanging out. It would so happen that sometimes Jim would somehow make up his mind to train or study and exactly at that time, temptation would come in the form of his ‘friends’. Sometimes Jim would argue that he had lots of to-do things but the boys would persuade and tempt him and Jim, already having a weak will, would succumb. He did not have it in him to say ‘No’. Thus there was no one, absolutely no one to guide Jim on the correct path. Jim did have decently good parents. But his parents were someone who thought that their responsibility was only to invest all money possible in Jim’s education and training. They thought by doing so their job was done. They did not try to use any creative ways to guide Jim on the correct path.

And so this is how Jim’s school and college went and at the end of it he neither had a good academic record nor was his boxing career going anywhere. After completing college, Jim did some odd jobs for some time. Then he began to think about his boxing career. He joined a boxing club and began to fight in small club fights. He began to train hard, hoping to make it big, some day. But alas, he had lost precious time and in a demanding sport like boxing, 12 years is a long time. Jim did once get a chance to fight in a big game.  But he lost badly and that too to an opponent much younger than him. Though Jim had lost the fight he had realized a new fact, that there is a whole new generation of boxers out there which is not only better but much smarter than the generation before. The other thing he realized was no matter how much he now trains, there would be younger boxers out there who would have trained for all the years Jim hadn’t and therefore would be much ahead of him. Jim neither had enough money to train like the top boxers neither was age on his side. As Jim began to realize this fact, he began to become depressed. Slowly and slowly Jim had become hopeless and full of despair. He had begun to sulk and he was not able to concentrate on his training or boxing. He thought that he was living a purposeless life. Yes, boxing was his passion but now he would have to live his whole life as a rookie boxer fighting in those small fights. But besides boxing he had no other alternative and he needed it to sustain himself.

The Bishop's advice

              He was in this state for sometime until one day when he happened to go the church; a thing he hadn’t done for all these years. Here he happened to meet Fr. John, the bishop of the church. Fr. John was a kind and good soul. He could make out from Jim’s expression that Jim was very sad and depressed and tried to make him talk about it. Jim told the Bishop about his entire life. He asked the Bishop that how he felt how purposeless his life was. The Bishop then told Jim he should stop thinking his life is purposeless. ‘Henceforth’ said the Bishop ‘Submit yourself to the will of God and live for him. Don’t think of whether you will be able to ever get into boxing big time. If God decides you may get there some day. Quit worrying about it and let god run the show’. Fr. John’s talk had a great effect on Jim. Although he wasn’t completely out of despair, at least he had a glimmer of hope and that was enough for him. And thus Jim concluded his story to Sarah.

Jim's present

‘So,’ said Sarah, ‘at the end of it all you have learnt to count your blessings. And that is a great thing’. Jim had a wry smile on his face as he looked in the horizon. He paused for a moment and then said ‘You know what, Sarah… Yes, it is true that now I am no longer into the hopelessness and despair that once I was. But deep inside I know that I am never going to ever get the big stage again. I wish… I wish that someone, somebody would have guided me at the right time, someone had brought me out of the darkness I was in, then I might have been there…’ said Jim pointing to a large billboard in front that had a image of one of the pro boxers.


1.    Who do you think is responsible for the mess in Jim’s life?

a.    His parents (Parents need to know how to manage their children and need to be creative about it)

b.    His fake friends (Clearly, they were not his friends)

c.    God (Why didn’t God send some angel in Jim’s life when he was going astray?)

d.    Sarah (Sarah’s love could have changed Jim)

2.    Do you believe that Fr. John’s advice was actually only to console Jim?

3.    Do you believe Jim should give up boxing and try another job?

4.    Do you think that, in future, when Jim has children, they will think that their dad is a loser? What can Jim do so that this can be avoided?

5.    If you had to motivate Jim, how would you motivate him?

On #1 #3 and #4

#1 - To blame anyone for the mess in Jim's life is counter-productive.  Jim could spend the rest of his life trying to figure this out and it won't help in him making himself happy.  Jim should maybe see a therapist to resolve the angers toward these people.

#3 - I think Jim is young and has time to "make" his life what he wants.  If he loves boxing, he should figure out a way to make it part of his life, but maybe as a teacher rather than a fighter.

#5 - The most important thing that Jim can do for his children, is to create a life for himself where he is happy.  Children are the most pure and perfect people.  Unlike what the tv-movies portray, they aren't jealous of another kid's dad being an astronaut.  If you are happy and satisfied with your life, no matter what you do, you will give your children the best gift they'll ever get: the example of how to live life.


0.  Since I am not inside Jim’s skin, it is really hard to make any valid statements about him.  That said:

1.  Jim is responsible for his own choices.  He may not have had the guidance along the way to realize this, but it is not too late for him.  I used to blame others for the mess my life was in, until I did Step Four and learned to take responsibility for myself (and forgave myself and others).  If some aspect of my past is still troubling me today, I need to deal with it so I can put it behind me.

2.  Fr, John gave excellent advice.  Take my story.  I dream of being a professional writer.  If I write the best book ever and become wildly successful, so what?  Sure, I could feel good about it, but if it doesn’t advance God’s purposes, then it is utterly meaningless.  My take on life and eternity is: this life on earth is a mere drop in the bucket, while eternal life is what I want to live for--and the choices I make here will affect the quality of that future life.  Even if I gave myself away in the service of others my whole life, but was not doing it for God and those I served, but rather to feel good about myself and for people to see (and say) what a great person I am, then it would be meaningless.

3.  Jim has a choice; accept the level of boxing that he is capable of and enjoy it for what it is, or drop it and move on.  Or I guess he can choose to be miserable, longing for what won’t be. No one else can make his choice for him, and I don't know what is best for him.

4.  I would not call anyone a loser.  I can’t predict what his children will think of him, but I suspect their opinion of him will have more to do with the quality of their relationships than anything else.  NO, that's not right either.  I didn't have a great relationship with my Dad, and earlier in life I was really pissed at him for various things, especially his emotional distance and his occassional bouts of temper.  But I have forgiven him for those faults, and found the good in him.  So what I think of him, has more to do with me than with him.  I am forever greatful that I had my parents stay with me for a week while they were still lucid, and was able to love them for who they were.  It was very healing.

As for his vocation, my Dad was a great appliance repairman (I have no idea how he compared to other repairmen, but it doesn’t matter).   I am proud of the work that he did because he often worked for less than he could have charged and sometimes worked for free, because he cared about the poor.  It meant we didn’t have much money either, but that was never something I even thought to blame him for.  In fact this is the first time I ever really thought of it that way: we were not well off because of the decisions my Dad made in helping others.  I do believe that his choice of vocation (and his relationship with me) was about the best he could have done with his circumstances and abilities.

5.  Hmm, I don’t have the power to change anyone else.  All I can do is share my own experience, strength and hope (ESH), just in case something that worked for me will work for him too.  I have a lot of experience and strength in the area of overcoming the insane driving obsession to try to control others, please others, and make them think well of me.  Around procrastination, all I can offer is hope.  I need to listen to others’ stories, and take what I like that works for me.  If someone tells me what I need to do to change, that usually goes over like a lead balloon.

Jim is responsible


Saying it as it is in my mind.

I haven't thought much on these, partly because I want to see what's inside my head from an outsider's perspective.

1. Friends could've been better, though they can't be held responsible. Parents - same. Not Sarah, she's not in any way responsible. As for God, He always does what is best for us, though we can't understand it, for strange, unique and magnificent are His ways. What seems horrible to us is also a part of His plan. Not to say that He did it to us, but that He takes it all into account in His grand plans. We cannot understand them in foresight, and not until we are involved in that part of the plan ourselves. A person may or may not understandthese things until the end of his/her life.


2. No, Fr. John actually gave very good advice. Even from a rational stand-point, he has helped bring him, in some part, out of his depression, John being a believer in God. That leaves his mind free to be used in solving his problems instead of spiralling into depression. What he achieves in the future will be a function of his next actions....


3. I can't really say. If he really cares for boxin he should pursue it for as long as he can. In the meantime, he can start some small-time business, related or unrelated to boxing, to supplement his income, so that he can focus on boxing without fear of his future income.  A job may give him some flexibility in time, but so can freelancing.


4. Don't know what his children may think. But good parenting and teaching children the difference between apparent and actual value of money, and the true measure of success in terms of all and not just the professional field of life, may help insure that not only do his children like him, but also grow up to be people who love themselves and others around them, living a good, balanced life. But first, Jim wiil have to understand these things himself, which'll take time. Forgive himself first; he may have fallen but he did not remain on the ground. There is more to life than material success. If money and fame were all that mattered, celebrities and billionaires wouldn't be fighting drugs and broken marriages and dysfunctional families. In the end, remember two things: you may die tomorrow - so love today and sort your priorities; and you have your whole life ahead of you to live out - so plan accordingly and work diligently.


5. I think the above is what I had to say. In all honesty, I don't think I could get him fired up with pep talk. There is what is needed and then there is what people think is needed. I hope we realize what is needed and act on it. All of us.


God bless you, titan. God bless all of us.


Thank you for your thought producing forums. I really enjoy them.My answers to the question 1 and 5

1. I think neither a,b,c,d are responsible for the mess in his life. I believe Jim is responsible for Jim, especially after being out of HS at least 12 years.

5. I would motivate Jim by encouraging him to get out of the "victim" mentality.

good story below shows it can be done:

Choices: by Dr. Stepven R. Covey

I was teaching the 7 Habits at a professional gathering last week when I experienced something remarkable. While I spoke about Habit 1, Be Proactive, and some of the principles for being responsible for your own life or carrying your own weather and choosing your own response, a gentleman from the audience stood up. Right before this big audience, this man stood up on his chair and essentially said the following (I’m paraphrasing):

“Last week my wife left me. It was totally unexpected. I have felt a mixture of feelings from being hurt, feeling anger, betrayal and embarrassment. But listening to this today I have decided to not be angry anymore. I am going to choose to be happy and not be hurt or embarrassed any longer.”

I was so taken by this man’s sense of humility and courage, and his desire to be the creative force of his life rather than being victim to his circumstances or his relationship with his wife. I’m sure he was in a lot of turmoil and feeling like the world had crashed down on him. But he gained the self-awareness that he could still choose his response to his devastating personal challenges. He saw that he could act and not feel acted upon.

I commended him for his decision and affirmed that he can choose to let the anger go, to forgive and create his life. This is often a hard thing to do especially in painful situations like his.  The audience applauded him. I applauded him. I had never seen anything like it.

When I think of this man, I don’t know what will happen to him and his wife. But I do know that if he will grasp onto the principle of being proactive and seeing himself as the creative force of his own life with the choices he makes, he will find meaning and fulfillment in his life—he will eventually find peace of conscience.

Can you think of a situation or relationship in your life where you can choose a better, more effective response? Choose it now!

 no opinion on other questions.