Fear of Failure?
I realized today that I dislike difficult challenges. That is not the same thing as being lazy. I generally work hard and am responsible. But I take pleasure in doing things that I'm good at, that I find easy, and that I usually excell at. When I do a good job at something that was not very challenging for me, people often notice how good it is, and this reinforces my sense of being a smart and important person. I pat myself on the back, even when I didn't have to work all that hard. I bet this is why I keep my expectations of myself pretty low.
Problem is, I'm disappointed in general at what I've been able to achieve in life. I've got a really great life, so why all the discontent? It's because I feel like I'm not doing all that I could be doing. This haunts me. I wonder why I procrastinate so much? It leaves me no time to really focus and work hard and see what I'm really made of, deep down. Maybe I'm not capable of doing too much more than I'm doing, but not knowing for sure what I could do if I were just more disciplined bothers me. A lot. Yet I keep procrastinating.
Today, for the first time, I realized that I don't like to work hard. I like to work. I like to be busy. I like to be responsible and reliable and successful. But I really hate the feeling of intense stress, of pressure. I hate feeling like a project is taking over my life. I hate feeling like I don't have enough sweat, time, synapses, whatever to get the job done. I mean, I really HATE that feeling. I don't like being challenged.
Whenever I have been faced with an unavoidable challenged, I manage to pull through. I can't say I've ever really failed at any big challenge that I've really taken on. I usually wring my hands for a while in dread, procrastinate, waste time, worry and fret, feel that I'm going to fail, have a breakdown, then get at it and ATTACK. I don't sleep much by the end and just barely pull through at the last minute. Invariably (so far anyway), the people to whom I produce my last minute stress-produced work praise me for it and say I've done well. I feel no satisfaction at all. I'm tired. I'm stressed. The praise and product were not worth the effort and stress and self-doubt. I don't like feeling like I don't know what I'm doing. And believe me, in the moment, I really think I am going to fail. There are no guarantees in life. I'll fail. Then I'll be a loser. Probably I'll end up middle aged and look back and realize I've wasted my whole life watching YouTube videos and planning for what I'll do when I finally have the time or discipline to do it. Everyone seems to have an easier time with things than I do. Other people seem to just go about life without any reflection. They're happier. They work less. They understand things faster. They don't have to work as hard as I do to understand the same material. They have talents and projects and creations! I hate feeling this way. I hate it.
The pleasure and self-worth and self-pride I feel from carrying out relatively easy tasks well FAR surpasses the pleasure I get for rising above and excelling at something that challenges me. And that, in my opinion, is the reason I procrastinate. Why put myself through it? Why not just succumb to all the distractions?
Problem is, I'm disappointed in general at what I've been able to achieve in life. All the things worth doing are hard.
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Okay, first things first.
You didn't say what your dreams and plans were, that you feel like you could have reached. First, what is it that you really really want to do? And sometimes it helps to ask yourself, what are the goals behind your goals? What are your true goals, what would really make you happy?
cannot run away from a weakness; you must sometimes fight it out or
perish. And if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894)
The things I actually want
The things I actually want are not practical in a financial sense, and they are risky. That would be OK if I were young, but I am not. I must continue doing things that I don't really want to do, at least for another 3-4 years. Actually I like what I'm doing just fine, but it's not what I really wish I could do. We can't have everything I suppose. But I feel like if I could cut myself some slack and stop procrastinating all the time, I could do my job AND have free time to start taking small steps towards what I really want. It's hard when I'm always playing catch up.
re: The things I really want
Avoiding the truth consumes great effort and energy. - Jim Loehr