So I am listening to a business cd and the speaker is talking about “perfect” procrastination which refers to the tendency of people to procrastinate because they want to have circumstances absolutely perfect. This procrastination can occur at the beginning of the project or near the completion of it. In her case, she was talking about writing a book and how she kept doing rewrites on it before sending it to the editor until finally she realized that checking the book was the job of the editor.
I have a few guys in the room who are very talented; every Mixed Martial Arts school has them – the guys who train casually and can come in and whoop on mostly everyone in there. The #1 excuse that I get from these guys when I ask why they don’t compete is this type of “perfect” procrastination usually accompanied by a “I don’t want to let the school down.”
I also get this type of excuse from a lot of potential students (these are all real).
- I need to get in-shape first. (most common)
- I need to train someplace less serious first so I will be ready for training here. (“less serious” = friends basement copying moves from DVDs of past UFC’s)
- I am really busy with my paper, test, schoolwork of some kind.
- I will start training once… I get my promotion; my wife has the baby; I get my car fixed; etc. etc.
In 9 out of 10 of these cases, I would say that the individual COULD HAVE started training right then (or competing) with no abnormally ill effect. In the history of Crazy 88 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I remember only ONE PERSON that has ever given us the “I will starting once…” excuse and actually come back. It took him 4 years to make it back into the room but he made it back in!
… So the one guy who came back after all those years was Will Vitellaro, Mike Atkin’s nephew and a man of his word!
My argument against “perfect” procrastination would be the following.
1. Things are never going to be perfect. Once you pay for your car repairs, finish your term paper, mow the lawn, fix your broken heart, get in-shape, finish Call of Duty 4, etc. etc. THEN you will have to rest your sprained ankle, save up for Christmas presents, camp out to get the Black Friday deals, get the TPS reports in by the weekend, detail your wife’s car, etc. etc. My point is – we all have things to do and guess what? Once you finish those things, you’ll have more things to do. That’s life.
2. One step forward is better than none. If you needed transportation, would you purchase a junker now and use that until you could afford a better car OR would you continue to walk, until you saved up enough money for a Benz?
You’ll get to the Benz dealership a lot faster in an old Dodge than you will on foot. Likewise, if you want to get in-shape, become an MMA fighter, read Moby Dick, etc. you will reach your goals a lot faster by starting slow than by not starting at all. So if there is something out there that you really want/need to do, get started. I think in most cases, you’ll find out that getting started was the hardest part.